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These Pictures Show The History And Controversies Of The NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade

Each year, thousands of people take to the streets of New York City in honor of St. Patrick's Day, in a parade as historic and celebratory as it is controversial.

Posted on March 16, 2019, at 10:05 a.m. ET

Museum Of The City Of New York / Getty Images

People march in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade in 1895. The steeple of the Central Presbyterian Church on 57th Street is in the distance.

New York Daily News Archive / Getty Images

A small child is given the best view of the St. Patrick's Day parade, across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral, circa 1940.

Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

A girls tries to join the parade in 1950.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

New York Police Department officers march in the parade, 1964.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is greeted by supporters, shortly after announcing his candidacy for the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination.

Joe Sohm / Getty Images

Children dress warmly to watch the 1987 St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Peter Morgan / Associated Press

NYPD on motorcycles escort about 1,000 members of the Irish Gay and Lesbian Organization, barred from marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade, in their own mini march up Fifth Avenue in 1992.

Bebeto Matthews / AP

Members of the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization speak at a news conference to announce their protest march in 1993. The Ancient Order of Hibernians, sponsors of the parade since 1853, have refused to let the LGBT groups join their parade.

Evan Agostini / Getty Images

Members of the Irish Gay and Lesbian Organization protest the 235th St. Patrick's Day Parade in 1996.

Jon Levy / AFP / Getty Images

A protestor with the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization is lead away after being arrested for walking in the street before the start of the 237th annual St Patrick's Day parade in 1998.

Katherine Leuthold / Associated Press

Police officers apprehend members of the Lavender and Green Alliance after they were arrested for forcing their way into a St. Patrick's Day parade in 1999. Police said they arrested eight people from the New York–based Irish lesbian and gay organization who were protesting their exclusion from the parade.

Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images

Members of a bagpipe band tune their pipes before marching in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in 1999.

Chris Hondros / Getty Images

First lady and Senate hopeful Hillary Clinton waves to the crowd along the parade route of the St. Patrick's day parade in 2000.

Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images

Protesters demonstrate against Hillary Clinton before the start of the 239th St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2000.

Ray Stubblebine / Reuters

New York City firefighter Mike Hefferman wipes away a tear after his unit had stopped for a moment of silence for firefighters killed in the Sept. 11 tragedy, during the 2002 St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

US Army JROTC students wait to march in the 248th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2009.

Tina Fineberg / AP

A green and white ribbon, the colors of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, pinned to the uniform of a Newtown High School Marching Band member after marching in the 2013 St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Emmanuel Dunand / AFP / Getty Images

Gay rights supporters protest against the exclusion of the LGBT community from the St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2014.

Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images

An NYPD officer stands guard as participants march in 2017.

New York Daily News Archive / Getty Images

A young girl holds her doll and an Irish flag as she watches the 245th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2006.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.