Pride in the Village

The Gay Pride parade always ends a few blocks from where I live and every summer, for the rest of the day and night, my neighborhood explodes with happiness. It’s wonderful. On the civil rights front, things are getting better and I get to bask in the joys of progress, and the slow realization of the promise of freedom.

Except last night I also watched the CNN series The Sixties, which focused on the civil rights movement of that decade, and now I’m upset all over again about what has happened to the Voting Rights Act. If you want to get even more upset, but see a glimmer of hope, read this piece in The Atlantic. It’s not long!

I realized I’m not familiar with all the key players in the civil right movement, and I was doing a lot of googling last night to catch up. I need to read more books. And then I started worrying about whether or not kids are being taught this thoroughly enough in school. Does every child know who Dave Dennis is?

I didn’t know Floyd Mann’s name until I saw a documentary last year. The Governor of Alabama was telling a representative from the Kennedy administration that it wasn’t possible to protect the Freedom Riders. He turns to Mann, the Director of Public Safety, and says, “tell him Floyd.” And Floyd said, “Governor, I’ve been in law enforcement all my life. If you tell me to protect them, I’ll protect them.” Makes me tear up every time I read those words.

A few pictures in my neighborhood. First, a human work of art.

Gay Pride Parade, NYC, 2014

This guy was funny. He’s dressed like such a bad ass, with the skull on his head and everything else, and yet he was a complete sweetheart, posing with a big smile whenever anyone asked.

Gay Pride Parade, NYC, 2014

The person on the right here however, agreed to pose with the guy on the left, but I can’t quite read his expression. Such an enigmatic look.

Gay Pride Parade, NYC, 2014

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

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