Photo Exhibit Of 1976 Chicago Pride Parade | WBEZ
Skip to main content

WBEZ News

Photo Exhibit Shows Early Days Of Chicago’s Pride Parade

University of Illinois at Chicago photography student Diane Alexander White captured the scene of Chicago’s 7th Annual Pride Parade in 1976.

Alexander White said the parade, in what’s now called the Lakeview neighborhood, was an intimate event of expression and liberation after what she called the tumultuous 1960s.

Her photos from that day will be on display beginning June 28 at The Hoxton, 200 N. Green St., in the Fulton Market neighborhood. The exhibit runs through Sept. 8. It is also presented by the Chicago-based Johalla Projects, which exhibits and curates art.

Here are some of the photos Alexander White snapped at the 1976 parade with her memories.

"Psychedelic era of the hippies"

1976 Chicago Pride Parade
Diane Alexander White

“Reminds me of the psychedelic era of the hippies, which was still kind of in the memories of people in 1976. He’s looking at me with a very, what I would call ‘bemused’ expression, probably wondering why I’m taking his photo, but he’s very prepared to be photographed.”

"Can I have a picture of myself?"

1976 Chicago Pride Parade
Diane Alexander White

“This photo is of a young man whose name is Ray Ray. And the way I found that out is because a good friend of his saw this photo and said, ‘Oh my gosh, this is my friend Ray Ray. He was best friend during this time.’ I think [Ray Ray] said to me, ‘Hey, can I have a picture of myself?’”

"The Marie Antoinette wig"

1976 Chicago Pride Parade
Diane Alexander White

“I’ve always called it the Marie Antoinette wig. She’s wearing a Rhinestone necklace but the chest hair is very prominent. You cannot deny that she is proud of both parts of who she is.”

"It looks like a family"

1976 Chicago Pride Parade
Diane Alexander White

“The way I look at this photo is it looks like a family. It could be a day off for the family. Maybe they’re going grocery shopping but they’ve run into all of this traffic, congestion … or maybe they live in the neighborhood and they just stepped out to be observers of the action of the day.”

"Some parade folks"

1976 Chicago Pride Parade
Diane Alexander White

“Behind him is a 1970s car, probably holding some parade folks. But, northbound, you can see a bus and car. That meant the permitting was just for the southbound lanes and traveling north and by car was not a big deal.”

These quotes have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

Carrie Shepherd is a news reporter for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter at @cshepherd.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.

CLOSE X