CHICAGO (CBS) — You can get an education simply by walking up Halsted Street in the Lakeview neighborhood on the North Side, thanks to the newly-dedicated “Legacy Walk.”
There’s nothing quite like it; 17 plaques line Halsted Street, celebrating the accomplishments of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered community — including such well-known figures as dancer Alvin Ailey, artists Keith Haring and Frida Kahlo, authors James Baldwin and Oscar Wilde, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey.
The dedication ceremonies on Thursday coincided with the 25th anniversary of the first “National Coming Out Day.”
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State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and Ald.Tom Tunney (44th), both of whom are openly gay, said they welcomed the Legacy Walk to the neighborhood.
Harris said, in a community in which many ethic and racial groups have museums memorializing their achievements, the Legacy Walk does the same for the LGBT community.
Tunney said, while the project had the full support of Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayhor Rahm Emanuel, City Hall was not always so welcoming to alternative lifestyles.
Founder Victor Salvo said it’s most important to the young, who see little mention of sexuality in their textbooks.
“It’s about rescuing unsung LGBT heroes from obscurity and reuniting others whose sexuality has been edited away with the truth about their lives,” Salvo said. “It’s about correcting the oversights of our high school textbooks which continue to allow the general population to think that everything fine and good and important that has ever happened in the world was accomplished by heterosexuals alone.”
The Legacy Walk also has an online component that lists many more individuals, and it includes lesson plans for teachers who wish to incorporation the Legacy Walk and Legacy Project into their classes.