Marsha P. Johnson (August 24, 1945 – July 6, 1992) was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. A founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Johnson co-founded the radical activist group Street Transvestite Action
Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.), alongside close friend Sylvia Rivera. A popular figure in New York City's gay and art scene, Johnson modeled for Andy Warhol, and performed onstage with the drag performance troupe Hot Peaches. Known for decades as a welcoming presence in the streets of Greenwich Village, Johnson was known as the "mayor of Christopher Street". From 1987 through 1992, Johnson was an AIDS activist with ACT UP.
Born Malcolm Michaels, Jr, on Aug. 24, 1945, the New Jersey native moved to New York City in 1966 after graduating from high school
She settled in Greenwich Village, where she adopted her drag queen persona and legally changed her name to Marsha P. Johnson, the magazine continued.
Johnson called herself “Black Marsha” before officially deciding on Marsha P. Johnson, the Stone said. The “P” stood for “Pay It No Mind,” which she would refer to when people questioned her gender.
Johnson joined the Gay Liberation Front before co-founding the group, Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.) with her friend Sylvia Rivera.The Stone said the activist group was “the first such organization in the U.S. to be led by a trans woman of color.” The duo later opened the STAR House in 1972, the first homeless shelter for LGBTQ youth, the magazine added.
The city declared last year its plans to build statues of both Johnson and Rivera at the Ruth Wittenberg Triangle just down the street from the Stonewall Inn, The magazine said the figures will be the first to commemorate transgender individuals, city officials confirmed.
In 1992, the city unveiled a set of statues across the street from Stonewall in Christopher Park, The monuments were made by George Segal to honor the uprising.
The four figures are painted white, which has evoked criticism for excluding transgender women and women of color, the newspaper added.
Johnson’s body was discovered floating in the Hudson River shortly after the 1992 New York Pride Parade.
Police ruled her death as a suicide, inspiring several attempts among activists to re-open her case, the Stone continued.
Former New York state senator Tom Duane and activist Mariah Lopez publicly demanded authorities to investigate if Johnson was the victim of a hate crime, according to the magazine.
Filmmaker David France released his 2017 Netflix documentary, “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” which follows activist Victoria Cruz’s quest to uncover what happened to the liberation activist.
“The most likely understanding of what happened to her the night she fell into the river was that she was put there or chased there by the police themselves. So, this idea of police violence going unanswered has a long history, especially within the queer community but the community of color across the board,” told by France.
“Today’s Doodle will help teach her story to many more around the world, and about the work that has been historically ignored and often purposely left out of history books,” Founder and Executive Director of The MPJI Elle Hearns said Adding, “The MPJI’s collaboration with Google is a bold action. It shows there are entities that trust Black trans leaders and follow the necessary steps in showing their commitment in supporting Black trans liberation. Join us and learn more here.”