Making History: Kansas City and the Rise of Gay Rights – an Exhibit and a Response

Dates: 
Saturday, June 4, 2022 to Sunday, August 21, 2022
Location: 
Room: 
Mountain Gallery
With the rise of an LGBTQ civil rights movement following World War II, milestones of achievement inevitably brought societal, cultural, and political backlash – oppression ranging from castration to institutionalization, employment discrimination, and censorship of LGBTQ history.

Amid renewed threats to LGBTQ rights today, the exhibition Making History: Kansas City and the Rise of Gay Rights – an Exhibit and a Response recounts historical challenges in Kansas City and across the country and examines the tools and approaches used to overcome them. Those precedents lend guidance and hope for the future.

The multifaceted display incorporates a 12-panel exhibition, Making History: Kansas City and the Rise of Gay Rights, produced by students in the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s public history program. It explores the pivotal role of LGBTQ activists – many in Kansas City – prior to the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. The exhibition drew nationwide attention last fall with its removal, after multiple complaints, from the Missouri state capitol in Jefferson City.
The new Library exhibition also features artwork by students in a printmaking course, The (Printed) Queer Archive, at the Kansas City Art Institute. Curated by Ruben Castillo, a visiting assistant professor of printmaking at KCAI, the works point to the future with a critical eye on dominant cultural narratives.

The original Making History exhibition was curated by Christopher D. Cantwell, an assistant professor of public history and an affiliate of the religious studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Stuart Hinds, the curator of special collections and archives at UMKC; and Kathryn B. Carpenter, a Princeton University doctoral candidate in the history of science who holds a master’s in history from UMKC.