Legacy Walk

The Legacy Walk is an outdoor public display in Chicago, Illinois, USA which celebrates LGBT contributions to world history and culture. According to its website, it is "the world's only outdoor museum walk and youth education program dedicated to combating anti-gay bullying by celebrating LGBT contributions to history."[1] It is the world's largest collection of bronze biographical memorials.[2]

Name [3][4][5][6][7][8] inducted


Jane Addams 2012 Illinois 1860-1935. The founder of the social work profession in the United States.
Alvin Ailey 2012 Texas 1931-1989. Founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in NYC.
Reinaldo Arenas 2012 Cuba 1966-1990. Poet, novelist, and playwright.
James Baldwin 2012 NYC 1924-1987. Novelist, playwright, and activist.
Margaret Chung 2012 California 1889-1959. The first known American-born Chinese female physician.
Barbara Gittings 2012 Austria 1932-2007. Organized the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB).
Keith Haring 2012 Pennsylvania 1958-1990. Artist, pop art and graffiti of the NYC street culture.
Barbara Jordan 2012 Texas 1936-1996. First African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction.
Christine Jorgensen 2012 NYC 1926-1989. First widely known sex reassignment surgery in the US.
Frida Kahlo 2012 Mexico 1907-1954. Artist who painted many portraits, self-portraits and works inspired by nature.
Alfred Kinsey 2012 New Jersey 1894-1956. Biologist and sexologist known for the Kinsey Scale.
Leonard Matlovich 2012 Georgia 1943-1988. First gay service member to out himself to fight the military ban on gay people.
Harvey Milk 2012 New York 1930-1978. Politician and the first openly gay elected official in the history of California.
Antonia Pantoja 2012 Puerto Rico 1922-2002. Educator, social worker, feminist, civil rights leader and founder of ASPIRA.
Bayard Rustin 2012 Pennsylvania 1912-1987. Leader in social movements, civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, gay rights.
Alan Turing 2012 England 1912-1954. The father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.
Two-Spirit people 2012 This is one of the four Historic or Social Milestones on the Legacy Walk
Oscar Wilde 2012 Ireland 1854-1900. Poet and playwright remembered for The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Ruth Ellis 2013 Illinois 1899-2000. The oldest surviving open lesbian, and LGBT rights activist at the age of 100.
Lorraine Hansberry 2013 Illinois 1930-1965. This makes her the first Chicago native honored on the Legacy Walk [4]
Frank Kameny 2013 NYC 1925-2011. Dismissed from his position as astronomer in the army because of his homosexuality.
Tom Waddell 2013 New Jersey 1937-1987. Sportsman and competitor at the 1968 Summer Olympics who founded the Gay Games.
Walt Whitman 2013 New York 1819-1892. Poet, essayist, and journalist described as obscene for its overt sexuality.
Mychal Judge 2014 New York 1933-2001. Fire Department chaplain became first certified fatality of the September 11 attacks.
David Kato 2014 Uganda 1964-2011. Murdered after a magazine published his photo as Uganda's first openly gay man.
Audre Lorde 2014 NYC 1934-1992. Poet for civil rights, feminism, lesbianism, ageism and black female identity.
Cole Porter 2014 Indiana 1891-1964. Composer and songwriter who won the first Tony Award for Best Musical Kiss Me, Kate.
Sally Ride 2014 California 1951-2012. NASA Space Shuttle Challenger astronaut, physicist, and engineer.
Stonewall Riots 2014 NYC 1969. This is one of the four Historic or Social Milestones on the Legacy Walk.
Mildred Didrikson Zaharias 2014 Texas 1911-1956. Won two gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Summer Olympics.
Josephine Baker 2015 Missouri 1906-1975. First African-American to star in a major motion picture, Siren of the Tropics.
Leonard Bernstein 2015 Massachusetts 1918-1990. Composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist known for West Side Story.
Rudolf Nureyev 2015 Siberia 1938-1993. Choreographer of the Paris Opera Ballet known for the Swan Lake.
Billy Strayhorn 2015 Ohio 1915-1967. Jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger, best remembered for Take the 'A' Train.
The Pink Triangle 2015 This is one of the four Historic or Social Milestones on the Legacy Walk
Sylvia Rivera 2016 NYC 1951-2002. Founding member of Gay Liberation Front, Gay Activists Alliance and STAR.
Vito Russo 2016 NYC 1946-1990. Film historian and author remembered for hit book The Celluloid Closet.


The Legacy Project was conceived at the National March on Washington for GLBT Civil Rights in 1987. The advent of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, the first recognition of what would become National Coming Out Day (October 11), the first Act Up civil disobedience at the U.S. Supreme Court, and the simple experience of being at the March itself inspired the Legacy Walk's creators to propose an outdoor LGBT history installation that would leap-frog over the education system which failed to acknowledge and teach about LGBT contributions to world history and culture. The City of Chicago became the logical site because, in 1991, it had established the first Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame to recognize the contributions of Chicago's LGBT community; and because, in 1998, the City of Chicago had dedicated the "Rainbow Pylon" streetscape on North Halsted Street [9] to define the cultural and business nexus of Chicago's LGBT community. The dedication of the rainbow pylon streetscape brought to an end the eleven-year search for a site to house the outdoor museum. Planning for the Legacy Walk's creation and fundraising for its launch took 13 years. The inaugural dedication of the Legacy Walk's first eighteen (18) bronze memorials took place on National Coming Out Day, October 11, 2012 – exactly 25 years to the day that the idea was first conceived.[10][11][12][13] Each year on the anniversary of its creation, additional bronze memorials are added.


As of 2019 the Legacy Walk consists of thirty-eight (38) bronze memorials, each of which is digitally linked to a cloud-based system accessed either by scanning a QR Code or by activating a microchip on each marker with Near Field Communication technology. This opens a portal in users' smartphones to watch video and download education resources. The Legacy Walk is joined by its cousin - the traveling "Legacy Wall" - which began a state-wide tour in 2015. In 2017 the Legacy Wall began a national tour that has taken LGBT contributions to world history and culture on the road by visiting libraries, high school and university campuses, cultural institutions, civic plazas, and corporate headquarters across the country.

See also


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