I recognize that, given the time of year, I am a little late with this reflection on two books covering the Stonewall Uprising. However, just like Black history should not only be taught in February, LGBTQ+ history should not be taught solely in June. This is especially true because many schools across the country are not in session during Pride Month. So, instead of making excuses about my tardiness, I will encourage reading Stonewall and The Stonewall Riots at any time of year.
Stonewall by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Jamey Christoph, is a picture book written from the perspective of the building located at 51-53 Christopher Street. This is such a creative way to tell the story of the Stonewall Inn and its importance to the Gay Rights Movement. The text and illustrations work together beautifully to reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community within Greenwich Village before and during the uprising itself as well as the difficulties involved in expressing that diversity. The picture book is supported by supplemental materials including photographs, an interview with a Stonewall Uprising participant, and a resource list for further reading. This book is a perfect way to introduce LGBTQ+ history to a young audience.
A book meant for a slightly older demographic is The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets by Gayle E. Pitman. This text is set up almost like a museum exhibit with 50 artifacts that tell the story of the Stonewall Inn and the history of the LGBTQ+ community in the United States. Pitman takes a wider look at what it was like to be part of this community over the course of the previous century especially in larger cities such as San Francisco and New York City. She considers the individual perspectives of gay men, transgender individuals, and lesbians who participated in events leading up to the Stonewall Uprising, the riots themselves, and in future advocacy within the Gay Rights Movement.
In 2016, Stonewall became the first National Monument dedicated to LGBT history. Hopefully, it will be the first of many. There is still a lot of progress to be made in this movement towards equality.
Diversity Anchor Standard 7: Students will develop language and knowledge to accurately and respectfully describe how people (including themselves) are both similar to and different from each other and others in their identity groups.
Diversity Anchor Standard 8: Students will respectfully express curiosity about the history and lived experiences of others and will exchange ideas and beliefs in an open-minded way.
Justice Anchor Standard 15: Students will identify figures, groups, events and a variety of strategies and philosophies relevant to the history of social justice around the world.
RI.3- Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
RI.6- Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.