Pride Month: History & Culture

In June 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. This led to six days of protests and violence, as members of the LGBTQ+ community fought for their lives and their rights. It served as one of the catalysts for the gay rights movement in the United States and in other countries. Until 1966, LGBTQ+ folks couldn’t even drink in bars, as gatherings of LGBTQ+ patrons were deemed disorderly. Even still, police conducted frequent raids and continued to harass community members after it became legal. Marsha P. Johnson, a Black drag queen, and Sylvia Rivera, a Latina and transgender woman, are the names most associated with the Uprising. Both became prominent activists in the fight towards LGBTQ+ equality. The Stonewall Riots are an important turning point in United States history, and it’s necessary to remember how the LGBTQ+ community was treated and while some strides have been made, how they continue to be treated.  

For our final Pride Month post (this year!), I’ve pulled a few books related to the history of the LGBTQ+ community. From music to history to literature to film to sports, the LGBTQ+ community has been present every step of the way. Let us continue to celebrate them and continue the fight alongside them for their rights throughout the year, not just in June.  

Love and Resistance: Out of the Closet into the Stonewall Era  

“A pictorial time capsule from the pivotal days of a budding gay rights movement. Baumann, coordinator of the New York Public Library’s LGBT Initiative, presents a dramatic collection of images, drawn from the career archives of photo-documentarians Lahusen and Davies, charting the rise of grassroots gay activism from the mid-1960s to the mid-’70s. It was a time when LGBT activists took to the streets of New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New Jersey to creatively and defiantly demonstrate against intolerance and inequality and whose “vision and courage changed our world.” Lahusen was active in early lesbian solidarity organizations while Davies was best known for chronicling the feminist, peace, and social justice activism movements of the era. Their photographs, accompanied by Baumann’s commentary and descriptions, represent separate perspectives within a unified theme of LGBT equality throughout each of the book’s four sections. “Visibility” displays images of a wide variety of gays and lesbians in the primes of their careers and endeavors; “Love” celebrates the power of community and affection in the face of societal hate; “Pride” memorializes the sacred queer spaces where activism, collaboration, and solidarity flourished; and “Protest” demarcates the demonstrations and rebellion against rampant gay oppression. Iconic activists like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Barbara Gittings, and Ernestine Eckstein share space with gay writers, artists, performers, and media founders. Haunting and arresting, the photos illustrate a historic American era when same-sex affection was forbidden in public and considered both a mental illness and an atrocity. A literary celebration commemorating the 50-year anniversary of the epic Stonewall riots, the book is elegiac yet also provides a reflective and hopeful reminder for future generations that change, and promise can arise from struggle and sacrifice. Though the book is a reflection of a different age and struggle, it is also timely given that LGBT freedoms remain ever endangered within the current political climate. A moving queer tapestry honoring a beleaguered movement’s legacy through art, veneration, and gravitas.”  

-Kirkus Reviews January 2019 

Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum 

“Pennies, glass bottles, a parking meter, and a kick line: how a police raid became a community’s symbol of freedom. June 28, 1969: the night the gay bar Stonewall was raided by the police for the second time in a week to stop a blackmail operation. What began as a supposedly routine police raid ended with over 2,000 angry, fed-up protesters fighting against the police in New York’s West Village. Bausum eloquently and thoughtfully recounts it all, from the violent arrest of a young lesbian by the police to an angry, mocking, Broadway-style kick line of young men protesting against New York’s Tactical Control Force. Bausum not only recounts the action of the evening in clear, blow-by-blow journalistic prose, she also is careful to point out assumptions and misunderstandings that might also have occurred during the hot summer night. Her narrative feels fueled by rage and empowerment and the urge to tell the truth. She doesn’t bat an eye when recounting the ways that the LGBT fought to find freedom, love, and the physical manifestations of those feelings, whether at the Stonewall Inn or inside the back of a meat truck parked along the Hudson River. Readers coming of age at a time when state after state is beginning to celebrate gay marriage will be astonished to return to a time when it was a crime for a man to wear a dress. Enlightening, inspiring, and moving.”  

– Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2015 

Fair Play: How LGBT Athletes Are Claiming Their Rightful Place in Sports by Cyd Zeigler 

“Outsports.com founder Zeigler gives an account of the great strides LGBTQ athletes have made in the sports world over the last 15 years. Before 2000, most professional LGBTQ athletes remained closeted for fear that revealing their homosexuality would end their sports careers. However, as the author documents in this overview, “the last decade has been colored in rainbows by young athletes…who [have] dared to be themselves.” In the 1970s, a few individuals, such as tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, came out. By the turn of the century, other professional athletes, such as baseball player Billy Bean and defensive lineman Esera Tuaolo, also did so, but only after they had retired. Not until NBA basketball player John Amaechi publicly disclosed his homosexuality in 2007 did gay athletes and the issues pertaining to them come to the fore of mainstream professional sports. In this book , Zeigler tells stories of the fears and anxieties that both college and professional athletes have faced along the path to acceptance by their teammates. He reveals how language used among otherwise tolerant heterosexual athletes to denote weakness compounds the intensity of the inner struggles of their gay counterparts. At the same time, he points to examples of straight individuals like football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin who have actively supported the gay sports movement by speaking about the need for “equality for all.” While Zeigler believes it is imperative that more LGBTQ athletes come out, he also makes clear that public outing is not justified if an individual is not ready to deal with the ensuing media exposure. Lively and provocative, the book  not only offers a much-needed perspective on what until recently has been one of the last bastions of heterosexism. It is also significant for its conscious consideration of how current developments will impact LGBTQ athletes of tomorrow. An informative, necessary work.” 

-Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2016 

David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music by Darryl W. Bullock 

“Bullock’s comprehensive yet concise history of LGBT music from the earliest records in the pre-jazz age to the 21st century is an enthralling journey covering multiple genres and serves as both a cultural and sociological study of the history and impact of various artists and music styles. Bullock examines jazz, blues, country, singer-songwriters, disco, punk, and dance while traveling both the main roads and especially the byways of popular music, highlighting artists who may be unfamiliar to many, narrating a story of a community that over the decades has created original, influential, and singular music. Using dozens of sources as well as his own interviews, the author demonstrates that the story of LGBT music is both a personal and a political one, set against the backdrop of key events in the gay rights movement, which also mirrors the changing societal attitudes toward LGBT people over time. Bullock spotlights dozens of LGBT artists, examining their lives, lyrics, and struggles, both in society and within the music industry, in an entertaining narrative that will also encourage readers to seek out fascinating work that helps define a community’s rich history and heritage.”  

– Library Journal, vol 142, issue 17 

Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution by Susan Stryker  

“Covering American transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to today, Transgender History takes a chronological approach to the subject of transgender history, with each chapter covering major movements, writings, and events. Chapters cover the transsexual and transvestite communities in the years following World War II; trans radicalism and social change, which spanned from 1966 with the publication of The Transsexual Phenomenon and lasted through the early 1970s; the mid-’70s to 1990, the era of identity politics and the changes witnessed in trans circles through these years; and the gender issues witnessed through the ’90s and ’00s. Transgender History includes informative sidebars highlighting quotes from major texts and speeches in transgender history and brief biographies of key players, plus excerpts from transgender memoirs and discussion of treatments of transgenderism in popular culture.”

-Grand Central Publishing 

-Linnea 

True Crime Book Review

Deep in the Woods: The 1935 Kidnapping of Nine-year-old George Weyerhaeuser, Heir to America’s Mightiest Timber Dynasty by Bryan Johnston

As an avid consumer of all things true crime, it’s always exciting to discover "new to me" cases. The kidnapping of George Weyerhaeuser is one such case. I also enjoy these “old-timey” cases; I find the distance between myself and the time of the crime offers me a bit of an emotional break from modern cases. Anyone else feel that way? Well, Deep in the Woods does not disappoint. The crime itself was strange and frankly, fascinating, the trials stranger, and the ending, the epilogue, the strangest of all. I listened to this one thanks to Netgalley and Tantor and found the narration to be perfection that added to the enjoyment of the story. Fans of historical crimes, kidnappings, and totally bonkers cases will enjoy this one. 

10 Great Biographies & Memoirs to Celebrate the 19th Amendment

Did you know that 2020 marks 100 years of women having the right to vote in the United States? You can find more information, including great reading lists for all ages, educational videos, and how to get involved in the celebration at www.womensvote100.org and www.2020centennial.org. Special events have been happening all year! On August 26, 2020 buildings and landmarks across the country lit up in purple and gold as part of the nationwide Forward Into Light Campaign, named in honor of the historic suffrage slogan, “Forward through the Darkness, Forward into Light.”

One way you can help to celebrate this awesome and important anniversary is to read a book about a suffragist! Below you will find 10 great biographies and collected biographies that reveal more about U.S. suffragists of note and a few contemporary feminist titles as well.

If you are a fan of biographies and memoirs, we have an exciting virtual event next week with Eliese Colette Goldbach, the talented and acclaimed author of Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit. There are still spots open for this Zoom program- register here!

Imagine Your Story – Virtual Programs

Come learn more about our area’s rich artistic history!


During this virtual presentation Leslie Cade, Director of Museum Archives at the Cleveland Museum of Art, will present:

Artists in Residence: Researching Local Artists at the Cleveland Museum of Art Archives.


Register and you will be emailed an invitation to join this virtual event. Registration required.

In the News Book Review-The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale

There is no escaping the news and racism, policing, and protesting are currently the main headlines for most news outlets. More and more I have been hearing a cry to defund the police, an idea that I did not fully understand. Naturally, I took to the intern to begin my research, where I came across the book The End of Policing by Alex Vitale. I found it to be a quick read and interesting read.

Alex S. Vitale is a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College. He is also the coordinator of The Policing and Social Justice Project, an organization that “…advocates and supports organizing against harmful law enforcement strategies and has provided guidance for social justice and criminal justice reform efforts across the country.” Vitale has studied and written about policing for 25 and consult both police departments and human rights organizations.

The End of Policing is a broad history and analysis of the policing system in the United States. Chapters address police in schools, the policing of our borders, the homeless, the addicted, the mentally ill, and sex workers. He discusses theories of policing such as warrior policing and broken window policing. Vitale clearly outlines the roles that presidents and politicians on both sides of the aisle have played in contributing to the problems of policing. From union-busting to the war on drugs, from ICE to three strikes, from stop and frisk to closing mental institutions, our modern presidents have all enacted polices that have resulted in harmful policing practices. Vitale cites as a major issue with policing the idea that we rely on police to solve all of our problems, despite police not being qualified to do so. Police are expected to perform the jobs of mental health providers, social workers, addiction specialists, and more without the proper skills and at great cost to society. The author details how special courts, diversion programs, and jails are all more expensive to run than social services programs. His conclusion is that training and reform are not enough. Vitale argues that diverting funds into programs that work to prevent social problems, ie, mental health care, affordable house, access to jobs, etc can reduce crime an the need for policing.

This is an interesting, informative, and well-researched book that I found helpful in understanding the idea behind the call to defund police.

~Megan

Your Library Staff at Home- Arts and Culture Online

This week we are providing links to resources might find helpful in your hunt when looking up the history of your home. These resources were assembled for a program that the library partnered in Virtual 4th Annual Living in the Digital World Senior Expo.

Cleveland Memory Project- Rocky River

In partnership with the Cleveland Memory Project, a digital history collection at Cleveland State University, we are digitizing our photograph collection. We are also adding photographs of Rocky River from the Cleveland Press Collection at CSU.– rrpl.org
http://www.clevelandmemory.org/rockyriver/index.html


Cleveland State Research Guides

This is the Library Guide for information on the history of greater Cleveland and NE Ohio.  Notice the tabs across the top of this page, detailing specific types of resources and other information topics designed to help you. Note too that many of these pages give you room to comment and rate this information for usefulness.  -csuohio.edu
http://researchguides.csuohio.edu/localhistory


Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer- Real Property

The Real Property department maintains a complete historical record of all property transactions, maintains records of property ownership, valuation, and taxation, and collects special assessments for public improvements. In addition, the Real Property department prepares the first and second half property tax duplicate, computes tax refunds, gives credits based on decisions by the Board of Revision, Board of Tax Appeals, the Appraisal department and the Courts.-fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us
https://fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/real-property.aspx


Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer- The Cuyahoga Recording Division

This site is provided to allow the citizens of Cuyahoga County, and the world, access to information housed at our office. Here you will find data on all the documents filed at the Recorder’s office from 1810 until present day. -fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us https://fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/RecordedDocumentsServices.aspx


Sanborn Fire Maps

Fire insurance maps of Ohio from 1867 to 1970 for history and genealogy research. Library Card Required. -rrpl.org
http://www.oplin.org/sanborn

Your Library Staff at Home- Arts and Culture Online

This week we are profiling the online resources of The Henry Ford.

The Henry Ford

Located in Dearborn, Michigan, a short drive from Detroit, this institution boasts a collection of objects from 300 years of American history. The museum was dedicated on October 21, 1929 and opened to the public in 1933. For the first 10 years visitors dealt with construction as the exhibits weren’t fully complete until the early 1940s. You can learn more about the history of the campus here on their History & Mission page.

While the museum and campus are closed, the website features many digital resources.

Their Virtual Visit page is a great place to start your exploration. Here you will find a list of objects with links to the Ford’s Google Maps project from 2015. The photos give you a better sense of scale of these artifacts and allow for 360 degree experience. A great example is the museum’s towering Allegheny Steam Locomotive. There are also links to the object’s record in the Digital Collections.

The Digital Collections can be explored much like the other institutions we have highlighted in these posts. Additionally there are the Expert Sets. These curated groupings are a great resource for educators building lesson plans as well as individuals looking for a more structured way of exploring the vast collection.

For researchers there is the Digital Resources page. There are Research Databases which include oral histories, the library’s catalog, photographs, and historic films.

A really interesting resource is their collection of historic Cookbooks. You can see what the people in the past ate and get some ideas for your own culinary efforts.

The Henry Ford has many education resources on their Online Learning Resources and Activities page. The available programs are arranged by grade level for easy navigation and their Innovation Program is currently free for public.