Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There's Not A Single Gay Or Lesbian Story Told In The Entire National Museum Of American History

"A dozen picket signs on old wooden sticks carry the DNA of the gay civil equality movement in America. Forty-five years ago, these pickets were held high by men and women considered among the first generation of LGBT activists in front of Lyndon Johnson's White House. With the men wearing jackets and ties and tailored skirts for the ladies, all arrived neatly dressed to disarm the looks of fellow citizens, while their hand-lettered signs proclaimed unimaginable things like First Class Citizenship for Homosexuals. Despite their professional appearances, this handful of men and women on this history-making picket line, knew perfectly well that their conduct literally put themselves and their jobs on the line, in broad daylight," writes Charles Francis and Bob Witeck. "Today, however, those brave pickets are stored in the dark of a Smithsonian vault, where they have been held for they past four years, ever since they first were presented to The National Museum of American History. So how is it that the nation's treasured museum, our Smithsonian Institution, can keep these very special artifacts in the vault? Even if a casual visitor or respected historian pays a call today, he or she will quickly discover there is not a single gay or lesbian story told in the entire National Museum of American History. It is past time to bring LGBT Americans out of the vault, where we belong, at the Smithsonian and to be shared with all Americans."