Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States

This guide offers a history of various movements by citizens in the United States to gain political and social freedom and equality. It highlights resources available through the library and also offers a list of current civil rights organizations.

National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights

Marches on Washington, D.C. can serve many functions: to protest peacefully, to make visible the commitment and volume of support behind a movement, to mobilize and nationalize otherwise more fractured, local efforts to organize.  The LGBTQ community and its allies have marched on the nation's capital on numerous occasions, beginning with a march and rally that took place on October 14, 1979.   

The organizers identified the following Five Demands:

  1. Pass a comprehensive lesbian/gay rights bill in Congress.
  2. Issues a presidential executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in the Federal Government, the military and federally-contracted private employment.
  3. Repeal all anti-lesbian/gay laws.
  4. End discrimination in lesbian mother and gay father custody cases.
  5. Protect gay and lesbian youth from any laws which are used to discriminate against, oppose and/or harass them in their homes, schools, jobs and social environments.

Subsequent marches have taken place in 1987, 1993, 2000, and 2009.

Library Resources

  • Queer mobilizations: LGBT activists confront the law, KF4754.5 .Q44 2009
  • The dividends of dissent: how conflict and culture work in lesbian and gay marches on Washington, HQ76.8.U5 G53 2008

Subject Headings

  • Gay liberation movement -- Washington (D.C.) -- History
  • Civil rights demonstrations -- Washington (D.C.) -- History
  • Gays -- United States -- Washington (D.C.) -- Political activity

Other Resources

Button from 1979 March