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Frank Kameny: Human Rights Pioneer
Forty years ago, civil-rights pioneer, Frank Kameny, came to the aid of a frightened Library of Congress employee who was accused of “enjoying” the embrace of men. Kameny ended up being fired himself by the Federal Government for being gay.
Undaunted, he continued to fight for justice and equality with a tenacity and integrity that inspired many others to follow in his footsteps. This demonstrates that the gay rights movement actually pre-dated the New Left. Kameny’s courage helped start that human rights movement, leading to the achievement of the freedoms that many now enjoy.
On Oct. 6th, that same Library of Congress accepted Kameny’s papers and cemented his place in history’s pages. Professional archivists will now painstakingly sort thousands of documents, the gift of Charles Francis’s Kameny Project, which raised $75,000 to purchase and donate them,ensuring their availability to generations of students of U.S. civil rights. There is no better record of the torment that gays endured at the hands of their government in the 1950s and 1960s. And there could have been no finer tribute to Kameny than the ceremony at the Library. There weren't any dry eyes in the house after Frank accepted the tributes and took his seat.
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