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New grant from Google aims to preserve Stonewall Inn stories

The historic site is the subject of a new project to ensure that its history is accessible and unforgotten.
The Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. (Getty Images)

On Sunday, Sen. Charles Schumer announced that a project to document the stories of the 1969 Stonewall Inn uprising will receive a $1 million grant from Google to help preserve the historical legacy of the legendary Christopher Street location, ABC7 reported. The bar is widely regarded as instrumental to the start of the gay rights movement.

The Stonewall National Monument Experience, slated for completion in 2019, will preserve the oral histories of those who had firsthand accounts of the 1969 riots, Pix11 stated.

“It’s a story about being totally dehumanized,” Thomas Lanigan Schmidt, who was present during the legendary uprising, told CBS2. “It’s really important to preserve the digital history here.”

The grant money from Google was given to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, according to the New York Daily News, and will go toward finding and recording individuals’ personal narratives regarding the uprising.

"People from all over the globe can really connect with the Stonewall Monument," Executive Director Glennda Testone, with the LGBT Community Center, said to Pix11. The project is being handled in partnership with the National Parks Foundation.

"This announcement sends an unmistakable message to Washington: that the America we know celebrates and cherishes its diversity. It doesn’t hide from it or fear it,” Sen. Schumer was quoted by the Daily News. “With this money, they will translate the legacy of Stonewall from a physical landmark into a digital experience, so that the lessons of its history can reach tens of millions of people across the nation and across the globe.”

The goal is ultimately to secure $2 million to cover other expenses toward preserving the location’s history, such as an informational kiosk, The New York Times reported. Google’s donation is meant to cover the oral history recordings, a social media platform for visitors and educational components.

"If we can do anything to get to share the stories and memories out there – I think of our platform, the reach we have – it’s a very good thing," Google executive Eric Schmidt was quoted by CBS2, which added that the Stonewall Inn became part of the National Registor of Historic Places in 1999.

 

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