THE LEGACY PROJECT was inspired the first time the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt was shown at the National March on Washington for GLBT Civil Rights in 1987. Beyond the over-whelming, uncontrollable emotion of that experience was a sense of the vastness of our presence, the richness of our lives. So many people – both famous and obscure. So many interests. So many accomplishments. For all the talk about our “diversity” the full breadth of our existence was never more clearly represented at one time, in one place, than on that ¾ acre swatch of the fabric of our lives. Sadly, except for our own immediate circles, we were strangers to ourselves. At that time, there was no way for gay people to know about those who came before them and what they accomplished and The Quilt only seemed to magnify that. We were LIVING GAY HISTORY. But we were DYING. Who would remember those who came before us when we were gone?
In 1991 the City of Chicago instituted the only Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in the world to recognize the contributions of its GLBT citizens both to the city as a whole and the GLBT community. Several years later Chicago once again chose to celebrate GLBT people by installing the first-of-its-kind “Rainbow Pylon” streetscape on North Halsted Street. The combination of Chicago’s annual Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame inductions and the 1998 dedication of the “Northalsted Corridor” as the nexus of the GLBT Community helped to crystallize the concept of THE LEGACY PROJECT; for finally there existed a place where the contributions of GLBT people from all over the world could be put on public display in the heart of an international city that had opened its arms to its GLBT sons and daughters. A decade later we are poised to begin the physical process of making this long-anticipated dream a reality. Please join us as we prepare for the Inaugural Dedication of THE LEGACY WALK on October 11, 2012 – National Coming-Out Day – 25 years to the day it was first inspired. Never underestimate the enduring power of an idea whose time has come.