Making history: the struggle for gay and lesbian equal rights 1945-1990 - an oral history

by Eric Marcus

Paperback, 1993


From its beginnings shortly after World War II to the current campaign for civil rights in the age of AIDS, the struggle of gay and lesbian people to gain dignity, visibility, and equal treatment under the law has been one of the most dramatic and inspiring political movements of this century. Making History is the first account of this period to be told in the words of the courageous men and women who participated in it--the people who, though often faced with public exposure and the sacrifice of family and friends, relentlessly challenged the status quo. Through his engaging oral histories, journalist Eric Marcus traces the unfolding of the gay rights effort from a group of small, independent underground organizations and publications into a national movement. Here are the stories of its remarkable pioneers: a diverse group of nearly fifty Americans, both prominent and unknown, straight and gay, who hail from all corners of the nation. It is a group that includes lawmakers and clergy, parents, conservatives and radicals, housewives and drag queens, psychiatrists, teachers, and journalists. Making History introduces us to Lisa Ben, a Los Angeles secretary who published the first newsletter for lesbians on her office typewriter in 1947; Dr. Evelyn Hooker, who in the early 1950s pursued pioneering research that led her to the controversial and widely publicized conclusion that gay men could be just as well adjusted as straight men; Abigail Van Buren, who as "Dear Abby" took the unprecedented step of speaking positively about gay people and gay issues in her widely syndicated column; Copy Berg, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who shocked the Pentagon by contesting his dismissal from the navy for being gay; Ann Northrop, a Boston debutante who gave up a television news career and became an outspoken rights advocate; Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong, who has challenged the church by calling for the blessing of same-sex relationships; and Tom Cassidy, the CNN news anchor who became the first national television broadcaster to come out of the closet about his homosexuality and AIDS diagnosis. From the period when homosexuals were routinely beaten by police to the day when gay rights leaders were invited to the White House, Making History is the story of an inevitable and unstoppable struggle that has succeeded in bringing about changes in American society that only a few years ago would have been considered unimaginable.… (more)


Lambda Literary Award (Nominee — 1992)
Stonewall Book Award (Winner — Non-Fiction — 1993)


HarperPerennial, New York (1993), Edition: Reprint, 544 pages

Call number

930 MAR


Physical description

544 p.; 8 inches
Page: 0.2077 seconds