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A photograph of crowds examining the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt on display at the National Mall in Washington, DC, April 1988.

The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, a project begun by gay rights activists, sought to represent the devastating impact of AIDS. Each panel of the quilt represents an individual; most commemorate the life of someone who died of AIDS. On October 11, 1987, the quilt was displayed for the first time on the National Mall in Washington, DC, during the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It initially included 1,920 panels and through a subsequent national tour grew to more than 6,000 panels. The quilt raised $500,000 for hundreds of AIDS service organizations.