Seven More National Parks Interpreting Difficult American HistoryBreaking News
tags: National Parks
Summer is here, and many Americans will be taking vacations to enjoy time with family and friends and get away from the daily grind. National parks are often at the top of many vacation lists, and when hearing the term “national park,” most people think of Yellowstone’s geysers, the Grand Canyon, or Yosemite’s El Capitan. National parks, however, are not just places of natural beauty and wildlife. National parks are also places of great significance to American history—both the triumphant and the controversial.
In September 2015, We’re History published Seven National Parks Interpreting Difficult American History (http://werehistory.org/national-parks-difficult-history/). Here are seven more national parks that confront and interpret difficult, complex, and contested episodes or periods in American history and help us better understand how we became the nation we are today. (PLEASE NOTE: A few of these are relatively new sites that currently have limited facilities for visitors.)
1. STONEWALL NATIONAL MONUMENT, New York, New York
Fifty years ago, the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood was a popular gay bar and hangout. But nearly everything about living openly as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal, and New York City’s anti-gay laws were particularly harsh. Police often raided gay bars, but on June 28, 1969, patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back. The Stonewall Uprising against police repression was a milestone in the quest for LGBT rights specifically and civil rights for all Americans generally. Just designated in 2016, the monument includes the Stonewall Inn (still an operating bar and private establishment) and the Christopher Park area just across the street from the Inn.