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Who Threw the First Brick: The Myth of the Stonewall Riots


Presentation author(s)

Margaret Baugh ’22, St. Louis, Missouri

Majors: History; Critical Identity Studies

Abstract

The Stonewall Riots have been mythologized in the fifty years since the riot took place. Without being formally taught, people theorize about who started the riots, why the riots started, and how monumental they were. I conducted interviews with nonexperts on their knowledge of Stonewall, finding that the events have become oversimplified into a narrative that I refer to as “the Stonewall myth.” I then compared this myth to museum exhibits, primary sources, and historians’ retellings. Additionally, I used the new theory of mnemohistory to analyze how myths are created from a combination of memory and history. This symposium presentation analyzes my findings, examining the true and false elements of the myth and how the myth formed.

Sponsor

Beatrice McKenzie

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