Chicago Society for Human Rights: December 10, 1924
"To combat the public prejudices"
by Jonathan Ned Katz. Copyright (c) 2008 by Jonathan Ned Katz. All rights reserved. Reedited by Katz from Gay American History (1976).
On December 10, 1924, the state of Illinois issued a charter to a nonprofit corporation named the Society for Human Rights, located in Chicago. This society is the earliest documented homosexual emancipation organization in the United States, as is evidenced by the group's charter, unearthed in the research for Jonathan Ned Katz's book Gay American History (1976). According to this charter, the object of the society's formation is
- to promote and to protect the interests of people who by reasons of mental and physical abnormalities are abused and hindered in the legal pursuit of happiness which is guaranteed them by the Declaration of Independence, and to combat the public prejudices against them by dissemination of facts according to modern science among intellectuals of mature age. The Society stands only for law and order; it is in harmony with any and all general laws insofar as they protect the rights of others, and does in no manner recommend any acts in violation of present, laws nor advocate any matter inimical to the public welfare.
The management of the society is vested in a board of seven, listed in the charter as:
- Rev. John T. Graves, President
- Al. Meininger, Vice-president
- Henry Gerber, Secretary
- Ellsworth Booher, Treasurer
- Fred Panngburn, Trustee
- John Sather, Trustee
- Henry Teacutter, Trustee
The charter is signed by Rev. John T. Graves, Al Meininger, and Henry Gerber.
- ↑ Jonathan Ned Katz, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (NY: Crowell, 1976), pages 385-88, citing Society for Human Rights, Inc., Chicago, charter signed Dec, 10, 1924; certificate no. 8018, State of Illinois, Office of the Secretary of State, Commercial Department, Springfield III. I wish to thank Jim Kepner for information which led to the discovery of this document.