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A Corresponding List for NYPL’s Exhibit Why We Fight: Remembering AIDS Activism

Silence = Death, Digital ID 1577323, New York Public LibrarySilence = Death, Digital ID 1577323, New York Public Library

The early days of the AIDS epidemic were marked by prejudice, ignorance, and political strife—but the grassroots work of pioneering activists changed the conversation, sparking the fight that generated real change, and eventually, strong action from national and international leaders.

Why We Fight: Remembering AIDS Activism is a powerful exhibition presented by The New York Public Library that examines the impact and significance of early AIDS activists in the 1980s and 1990s. The free exhibition will run now through April 6, 2014, in the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery, located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

A range of archival materials from the Library’s extensive collections illustrates the important stories of AIDS activism, including video footage, pamphlets, books, buttons, journals, and much more. The Library has preserved the archives of key organizations and individuals involved in the struggle to end the AIDS crisis, including such groups as Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Gran Fury, and ACT UP NY. Items from all of these archives will be featured in the exhibition.

In honor of this new exhibit, I compiled a list of some important books, films, videos, and articles from our collection that pertain to the early days of the AIDS epidemic.


And the Band Played On: Politics, Peoples, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts

Hospital Time by Amy Hoffman

Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival by Sean Strub

Heaven’s Coast: A Memoir by Mark Doty


Plays Well with Others by Allan Gurganus

The Scientists by Marco Roth

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Martin and John by Dale Peck


Angels in America: Part One: Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner

Angels in America: Part Two: Perestroika by Tony Kushner


The Man with Night Sweats by Thom Gunn

Does Your House Have Lions by Sonia Sanchez


How to Survive A Plague


Angels In America

You can access these videos at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center:

The Psychokinetic Visual Process with Anna Halprin

Circle the Earth: Dancing with life on the line

Circle the Earth: documentary

You can access these articles and more through Academic Search Premier, available at all library locations or at home with your NYPL library card:

“Only Your Calamity”

Latinos ACT UP: Transnational AIDS Activism in the 1990s

Doing Queer Love.


Note: I tried my best to only include titles that are not housed in our research collections and can be checked out at one of our many branches.


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

What is missing?

As usual, women are missing from your list: Corea, Gena. (1992). The Invisible Epidemic: The Story of Women and AIDS. NY: Harper/Collins.

Unfortunately that title is

Unfortunately that title is only available by request:

Wrong author name

"Martin and John" is by Dale Peck, not John Peck.

Thanks for catching that!

Thanks for catching that! I made sure to fix the error.

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