In 1969 — the same year Washington’s first gay civil rights organizers the Mattachine Society launched its “Gay is Good” campaign — journalists began distributing a one-page mimeograph in bars around town: The Washington Blade.
Over the next four decades, the publication’s journey would mirror the bumpy-but-forward-motion movement its reporters covered in Washington. Blade journalists covered LGBT discrimination, hate crimes, the AIDS epidemic and the slow crawl of civil rights. Then there was an abrupt closing due to financial woes in 2009, and the reopening just seven months later.
Along the way, photographers caught this growing piece of Washington culture frame by frame.
As was the case for most other publications hoping to compete in the digital realm, the next step for the Blade was digitize its photo archive — and to offer those prints for sale. The Washington Blade will unveil the first phase Thursday night at 6 p.m at Cobalt, 1639 R St. NW.
“Digitizing the photos has been a massive task,” Washington Blade digital initiatives manager Phil Reese wrote in an e-mail, “but we’re very excited to lift the curtain on part one.”