THE STONEWALL READER by The New York Public Library


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A showcase of the work of activists and participants in the Stonewall uprising, published to coincide with the 50th anniversary.

With his discerning selections, editor Baumann (editor: Love and Resistance: Out of the Closet into the Stonewall Era, 2019, etc.)—assistant director for collection development for the New York Public Library and coordinator of the library’s LGBT Initiative—provides a street-level view of the Stonewall uprising, which helped launch the LGBTQ rights movement in the United States. Through his skillful curation, he offers a corrective for what is too often a sanitized, homogenous, and whitewashed portrayal of academics and professionals about the event sometimes termed “the hairpin drop heard around the world.” By gathering vibrant and varied experiences of diverse contributors, the collection reflects the economic, gender, racial, and ethnic complexity of the LGBTQ community at a time when behaviors such as same-sex dancing were criminalized. Featuring essays, interviews, personal accounts, and news articles, Baumann’s archival project accurately and meticulously captures an era of social unrest; the conversation about institutional discrimination and inequality presented here remains as revolutionary today as it did 50 years ago. The anthology invites us to look closely at the unresolved social dynamics of a population defined by its diversity, confronting sexism, racism, classism, and internalized homophobia alongside a broad view of institutional discrimination, heteronormativity, and sexual repression. Voices of significant leaders sit beside stories from participants behind protest lines, police raids, and street harassment, and the mounting frustration with an oppressive status quo becomes palpable on every page. The first-person narratives collected here effectively spotlight the social inequalities surrounding the LGBTQ community, many of which persist today.

A bold rallying cry that should help in the continuing fight for LGBTQ rights. Read alongside Baumann’s Love and Resistance and Marc Stein’s The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History for a full education on the events before, during, and after Stonewall.

Pub Date: April 30th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-14-313351-3
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Penguin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2019


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