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LISTEN: The story behind Madeline Davis & her timeless anthem “Stonewall Nation”

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Few songs serve as a time capsule for a specific moment in time, reminding audiences of important events and historical context that aid in remembering how far a community has come in the fight for equal rights.

Though the queer community still has a long way to go, incredible progress has been made since the Stonewall Riots of 1969, and Madeline Davis’s song “Stonewall Nation” serves as a rallying cry for that progress.Davis, a singer, songwriter, activist, and documentarian, played a significant role in the gay liberation movement for over 50 years.

Born in Buffalo, New York in 1940, she did not come out until the early 1960s, when she discovered a thriving gay and lesbian community in her city.

In 1970, she joined the Mattachine Society of the Niagara Frontier, an early LGBTQ+ organization in the United States.She began contributing to the cause by building a library for a community center, which later turned into the Fifth Freedom magazine, and unintentionally became a spokesperson for the gay liberation movement in Upstate New York when she delivered a powerful speech at a march in Albany.In 1971, Davis co-wrote “Stonewall Nation” with Liz Caldwell, which became a rallying cry for the community and was sung at Buffalo’s first gay pride parade.

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