On July 4, 1965, the first organized civil-rights demonstrations by gay and lesbian activists in our country took place right here in Philadelphia.
As the protests were led by pioneers Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings, demonstrators carried picket signs in front of Independence Hall every Fourth of July from 1965 to 1969. "The public demonstrations, which were called Annual Reminder protests, became the first sustained national effort to focus attention on discrimination faced by gay people and became a catalyst for LGBT Americans to organize for equality," said Chris Bartlett, executive director of the William Way LGBT Community Center.
To honor the 50th anniversary of the first Reminder Day demonstrations, the National Constitution Center will host Speaking Out for Equality: The Constitution, Gay Rights, and the Supreme Court, a new exhibition curated by the William Way.
The exhibition will guide visitors through milestones in the LGBT-rights movement, profiling the ongoing debate over how much the Constitution protects gay rights.
Speaking Out for Equality will open to the public on June 5 with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m.
The exhibition will be the centerpiece of Reminder 2015: Celebrating 50 Years of LGBT History, Art and Culture, a series of events planned under the leadership of the William Way LGBT Community Center. A reenactment of the original Annual Reminder demonstration will be held on July 4, 2015, in front of Independence Hall.