Our America: Pride In History III: Rare footage of earliest known LGBTQ+ activist group, interview with Stonewall participant

Understanding where we come from and where we’ve been is an important part of telling the human story. For LGBTQ+ people, those stories are often lost to time because of stigma, fear and shame.

“Our America: Pride in History III” celebrates the amazing stories of perseverance as the community rose up on a path of greater acceptance. Watch Episode 1 here and Episode 2 here.

In this episode, go inside the “oldest operating gay bar in the United States,” then learn about the unsung hero who was instrumental in making the March on Washington happen.

Discover rare film of a riot that predated the the Stonewall uprising in New York. And meet the man who lost to San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, who talks about his place in history as one of the “Bay Gays” who helped shape San Francisco into what it is today.

Watch “Our America: Pride in History III” in the video player above.

Take a look at the individual stories that make up the special below.

The White Horse Bar celebrates its 90-year LGBTQIA+ legacy

The White Horse Bar celebrates its LGBTQ+ legacy.

Founded in 1933, The White Horse Bar in Oakland, Calif. is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year as the “oldest operating gay bar in the United States.” The vibe is described as an inclusive neighborhood bar. Owner Patty Dingle says, “When you come here, I want people to feel like there are embraced with a warm hug.”

Archival film sheds light on earliest known ‘gay liberation’ uprising in US before Stonewall

Protestors outside of Gene Compton’s Cafeteria a month before a riot broke out in the restaurant and spilled out onto the streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District in 1966.


Historians say the rare film may document the period of time before and after a riot in San Francisco that predated the the Stonewall uprising in New York. On a summer night in 1966, a group of LGBTQ+ people rioted at Compton’s Cafeteria. Historian Susan Stryker’s documentary, “Screaming Queens,” tells the story of what likely happened that night, when a group of transgender and gay men clashed with police in a riot that spilled out into the streets.

Lesbian activist Nancy Valverde looks back on her lifelong fight for equal rights

“I was in the closet, and I felt alone all the time,” said 91-year-old Nancy Valverde. Many consider her to be a SoCal legend. Valverde has a long list of accolades including a Purple Lily Award and other honors, including a downtown LA intersection named after her. But it comes after a lifelong fight for equal rights as a lesbian, and getting locked up in the Lincoln Heights jail more than two dozen times.

89-year-old helped pave the way for LGBTQ+ activism

David Rothenberg is a man who has been a powerful, consistent force in the fight for equality in the LGBTQ community. The 89-year-old veteran Broadway producer, radio host and activist, came out in 1973 in a very public way, noting, “I thought I was absolutely alone in the world. David took part in his first Pride march in 1970 and was back out there this year.

Stonewall Pioneer reflects on the legacy he hopes to leave behind

Stonewall Pioneer reflects on the legacy he hopes to leave behind

The infamous raid of Stonewall in New York City happened on June 8, 1969, and was what many identify as the beginning of the biggest public push for gay rights. Mark Segal was inside the bar when police attacked patrons. He shares his memories and thoughts on Philly’s LGBTQ+ community.

Gay rights pioneer looks back at Harvey Milk and ‘1976 Bay Gays’

Rick Stokes in 1976 and today, reflecting on his groundbreaking interview more than 40 years ago.

Rick Stokes in an 1976 ABC7 interview, and today. He spoke with us about the groundbreaking interview he did more than 40 years ago.


It was groundbreaking for the time. And now decades later, a man who lost to San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk talks about his place in history as one of the “Bay Gays” who helped shape San Francisco into what it is today.

Remembering the man who organized the March on Washington

Remembering Bayard Rustin, the local man who organized the March on Washington

The March on Washington, in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led more than 200,000 people in a call for jobs and freedom, is a historic event. But many don’t know Bayard Rustin, the man who was “instrumental in making that entire event happen.” He was the force, but not the face, of the march. Rustin was pushed to the shadows because he was a gay Black man.

Documentary details the fight against HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles

Using first-person interviews, rare archival and activist footage, and scenes from star-studded Hollywood fundraisers, a new documentary presents the HIV/AIDS epidemic’s L.A. history. It tells the story of the local response to the AIDS epidemic, and how Hollywood mobilized to raise awareness and support the LGBTQ+ community.

A walk through time: ‘Gay Bars That Are Gone’ tour

From queer loft parties to lesbian tea rooms, New York City’s history is filled with LGBTQ+ spaces that have been buried through time. Now, that history is being unearthed in a yearly walking tour that aims to keep the memories of these places alive while uniting the community around them.

ACLU fought for historic 1970 Pride parade and continues to fight

The world’s first officially-permitted LGBTQ+ Pride Parade happened in Hollywood in 1970 after a hard fought battle in court. Half a century later, the LGBTQ+ community, the ACLU and the police share a delicate stage around an L.A. Pride parade that remains, at its core, a protest.

Community hopes to make an LGBTQ+ pioneer’s home into a landmark

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is taking steps to make the home of a Southern California LGBTQ+ pioneer an official landmark. Members of the community say when Morris Kight lived in his Westlake home in the late 60s and early 70s, it became a safe haven for members of their community. During a recent protest, a local activist said, “Save Morris Kight’s house. This house is where the LGBTQ+ history was founded.”

Shop creates safe space for LGBTQ community, allies as gay bars disappear across US

When you walk into downtown Raleigh’s Green Monkey, warmth meets you at the door. “It’s a safe space for people to be who they want to be. Come shop, feel safe and have a drink,” said Rusty Sutton. “It’s not necessarily that I wanted it to be a safe space for LGBTQ people, but also our allies.” The gift shop, neighborhood bar and event space is owned by married couple Rusty Sutton and Andrew Temple. It’s been around for ten years but opened in the heart of downtown at its new location for only a few weeks.

Legacy Walk commemorates, celebrates important LGBTQ+ historical figures

The Chicago Legacy Walk in the Northalsted neighborhood is an outdoor museum commemorating important LGBTQ+ figures through history.

A Chicago man has made it his mission to recognize leaders and history makers in the LGBTQ+ community through an outdoor museum walk. Walking along Halsted, bar hoppers may not realize they’re walking through an LGBTQ+ history lesson. It’s called the Legacy Walk, a labor of love by one local man and his organization, lined by the iconic rainbow pylons.

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