Item Spotlight: Jack Nichols Holding Picket Sign


(Jack Nichols holding picket sign at 1st protest at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, 1965. Find this photo and other historical artifacts in our online archives.)

Fifty years ago, on July 4, 1965, activists first convened in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to demand equality for lesbians and gays. This first of five “Annual Reminders” (1965-1969) was organized by Barbara Gittings and Washington, D.C.’s own Frank Kameny. The forty protesters, including seven women and thirty-three men, came from Philadelphia, New York, and Washington D.C. A modest showing by modern standards, the First Annual Reminder was at its time the largest gay rights protest in world history (Source).

The photo depicts 27-year-old Jack Nichols, co-founder of the Mattachine Society of Washington, marching in the first Annual Reminder. “15 Million U.S. Homosexuals,” declares his sign, “ask for equality / opportunity / dignity.”

This item, generously contributed by Jack Nichols, is part of our online collection Jack Nichols Photographs and Papers, 1955-2005.