Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2017

Publication Title

Chicago History








Few migrants to Chicago have overcome as many discriminatory obstacles in their lives as Fritzie Fritzshall and Art Johnston. For more than thirty years, Johnston has made his mark on Chicago’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities.1 His video bar Sidetrack was one of the earliest institutions in Chicago to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and sponsor related health campaigns. Active in the passage of human rights ordinances at the city, county, and state levels, Johnston cofounded the Illinois Federation for Human Rights (now called Equality Illinois). He was among the first to advocate for a LGBTQ community center, and today, the Center on Halsted is the largest such facility in the Midwest.2 Fritzshall of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, is also a longtime community activist. Responding to the proposed neo-Nazi march in Skokie in 1977, Fritzshall, a Holocaust survivor, proved an instrumental figure in the creation of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center and, for many years, served as its president. Through her influential activism with the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, she continues to promote antidiscriminatory and educational programs to combat genocide


Author Posting. © Chicago History Museum 2017. This article is posted here by permission of the CHM for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Chicago History, 2017,

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