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Pride’s history is our future

Some 41 years ago this weekend, a ragtag group of gay street youth, drag queens, dykes and transgender people fought back against a police raid at New York City’s Stonewall Inn.

The 1969 uprising is widely viewed as launching the modern gay rights movement, igniting a more radical approach than the fledgling “homophile” movement that was already quietly underway.

By the next June, cities began hosting rallies and celebrations to mark the anniversary of Stonewall, creating the Gay Pride events that continue to this day.

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‘Stonewall Uprising’ explores turning point in LGBT history

“Before Stonewall” ended with the Stonewall Riots. “After Stonewall” began with them. Those documentaries from 1984 and 1999 respectively were reissued in a two-DVD set for Pride Month.

“Stonewall Uprising” sounds like it might have been called “During Stonewall,” but an opening title reveals the scarcity of photos and film footage of the actual events. Instead the new documentary uses reenactments and generic materials from the period, in addition to interviews with those involved.

Based in part on David Carter’s book “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution” (with Carter helping vet the interviewees), “Stonewall Uprising” is mostly a variation on “Before Stonewall.” Except for a brief introduction the June 28, 1969, raid that triggers the riots doesn’t occur until 50 minutes into the film. The last half-hour is about the raid, the riots and the aftermath.

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Augusta hosts historic first Pride festival

2010 Augusta Pride parade

Grammy winner Thelma Houston closed out the stage for Augusta Pride on June 19, but there was one more inspiring moment awaiting the hundreds who withstood the withering heat to be there for the festival’s finale.

As Augusta Pride organizers took the microphone to thank attendees and celebrate the success of the city’s first-ever gay Pride, a faint rainbow arched across the sky.

“That was like a sign from God,” Augusta Pride President Isaac Kelly said.