“We honor all those who came before us, most especially the queer people fighting for equality at the Stonewall Rebellion.”
Ann Marie Gothard, board president of Pride Live, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Stonewall Inn Visitor Center. The Stonewall uprising — widely considered the birth of the modern LGBTQ+ civil rights movement — began on this day in 1969.
jun 28, 2022
- The Stonewall Uprising was a six-day conflict that began when NYPD officers conducted an early-morning raid at the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in NYC (and owned by the mafia). For some time, it had been against New York State law to serve alcohol to openly gay people; places that did so were considered “disorderly houses” and often experienced police raids — even after the ban was lifted in 1966 — since homosexuality was still considered a crime.
- June 28, 1969, was unique, however; officers began interrogating and detaining people at the bar but were met with resistance. Large crowds soon gathered in the area; the following days consisted of protests and clashes with police.
- NYPD during the uprising: "There were no instructions except: put them out of business. The first police officer that came in with our group said, 'The place is under arrest. When you exit, have some identification and it'll be over in a short time.' This time they said, 'We're not going.' That's it. 'We're not going,'" Seymour Pine (1919-2010), Deputy Inspector of NYPD in 1969. He led the raid on the Stonewall Inn and recalled the experience in an episode of "American Experience."
- The area around the Stonewall Inn was designated as a national monument in 2016. The Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center, announced late last week, will open in the summer of 2024.
Why It Matters: The Stonewall Uprising is considered to be the pivotal moment that ignited the gay rights movement in America. The first gay rights march took place in NYC one year later, contributing to the establishment of what is now Pride Month.
Stonewall uprising: Library of Congress
Inside the first pride parade (National Geographic)