38 years ago today the first LGBT Pride march was held in New York on 28 June 1978 to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The Stonewall riots, that began on June 28, 1969, were the beginning of the gay rights movement in the United States with its world-wide influence. There was a police raid at the Stonewall Inn bar in Manhattan. The police raided the bar at the Stonewall Inn for only one reason, it was a gay bar. People started rioting after the horrific event and the start of the gay rights movement was born.
The New York Public Library has posted the following piece (below) on what was originally called Christopher Street Liberation Day to mark this historic anniversary.
Diana Davies. Gay “Be-In,” Sheep Meadow, Central Park, New York, June 28, 1970.
The first LGBT pride marches were held on June 28, 1970. Originally called Christopher Street Liberation Day, marches were held in 1970 to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Craig Rodwell, activist and owner of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore, obtained support for the march from ERCHO’s (Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations) November 1969 convention. Rodwell drew in support from New York City activists and organizations, such as Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance, to create the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee to plan the march. A sister march was planned and held in Los Angeles by their Gay Liberation Front. The march went from Washington Place in Greenwich Village uptown on Sixth Avenue to end with a ‘gay-in” in Central Park.
Many of the men and women who marched that day would forever remember that moment on top of the bluff. Before them lay a field of uncut grass, a blizzard of banners, dancing, pot-smoking, singing and music, a huge American flag, “gay pride” signs decorated with the Day-Glo hippie flower stickers, and men and women applauding each new arrival over the hill. And behind them—stretching out as far as they could see—was line after line after line of homosexuals and their supporters, at least fifteen blocks worth, by the count of the New York Times, which found the turnout notable enough to report it on the front page of the next day’s paper. No one had ever seen so many homosexuals in one place before. On top of the bluff, many of these men and women, who had grown up isolated and alone, stood in silence and cried.
From Out for Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America by Dudley Clendinen and Adam Nagourney.