Original banners, fliers, t-shirts and photographs from gay pride groups and events dating back to the early 1970s will line the walls of The Boston Center for Adult Education until June 30.

The Center partnered with The History Project, a local group that focuses on preserving the history of Boston's LGBT community, to present "Pride: 40 Years of Protest & Celebration."

The free exhibition traces the history of Boston's gay pride movement from its birth four decades ago.

Now is as good a time as any to paint a picture of pride's history, considering the city is in the midst of gay pride celebrations this week, an annual event that now draws hundreds of thousands of participants.

Most of the artwork and memorabilia that is on display was pulled from The History Project's archives, and serves to highlight the tremendous strides that have been made in the gay pride movement since its inception, according to Clark Crowley, creative arts program manager at The Center.


"It is exhibited chronologically with text explaining the birth of pride in Boston, to what it has become today," Crowley said.

The text accompanying the memorabilia gives a historic context of the landscape of pride during each time period.

Materials range from a Club Antorcha banner from 1989, to scans of pins reading "Pride Power '94," and "Gay and Straight Youth Pride 1995," as well as photography by Orlando Del Valle, a History Project Board of Directors member.

Also on display is "Fierce Pride 1992," a collection of black and white portraits of rally-goers captured by photographer Joel Benjamin at Boston's 1992 pride celebration.

According to Benjamin, it is the first time the photographs have been on display, however some of them ran in The Boston Reader newspaper in July 1992.

"It's kind of magical," he said. "I did the project before I was a full time photographer, and I did it out of creative love for the project. It's so nice to see the work on display. It was in a drawer for 20 years, and it is really nice to see it hanging on the walls."

To snap the liberating portraits, Benjamin set up an 8-foot white backdrop at City Hall Plaza and Boston Common, where he captured about 100 pride participants.

"It really was a project of love," Benjamin said.

If you go:

The exhibition is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at The Boston Center for Adult Education, at 122 Arlington St.

About 75 archival materials chronologically trace the growth of Boston's gay pride movement

Did you know?

Last month marked eight years since Massachusetts legalized gay marriage.

Boston had its first pride march in 1971

Latest From ...