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Those who fail to remember History are doomed to repeat it!
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, the police
raided the Stonewall Inn, a dingy, Mafia-run "private club" on
Christopher Street in Greenwich Village with a predominantly gay clientele.
The charge was illegal sale of alcohol. It was the second time that week
the bar had been targeted by the police, and other gay bars had also
been raided in prior weeks. Police officers lined up the Stonewall's 200
patrons to check identification. Most were free to leave, but the staff,
as well as three drag queens and two male-to-female transsexuals, were detained.
Eyewitnesses recalled that the scene outside the bar was
at first campy and festive. Patrons were joined by tourists and passers-by,
and everyone cheered when a gay person emerged from the bar, dismissed
by the police. But when a paddy wagon arrived and the police loaded the bar's
staff and the three drag queens inside, the crowd on the street grew surly.
One person threw a rock through a window, and eventually garbage cans,
bottles, and even a parking meter were used to assault the building.
Someone set a fire with lighter fluid. By newspaper accounts,
13 people were arrested and three police officers sustained minor injuries
in the confrontation.
Later that night and into Sunday morning, a crowd again gathered
in front of the ravaged bar. Many young gay men showed up to
protest the flurry of raids, but they did so by handholding, kissing, and
forming a chorus line. "We are the Stonewall girls," they sang, kicking their legs
in front of the police.
"We wear our hair in curls./We have no underwear./We show our pubic hair."
Police cleared the street without incident this time,
but another street altercation occurred a few days later.
From these events as well as others that soon followed, grew
what is now commonly called the Gay Liberation movement.
Estimates suggest that, at the time of the riots,
there were a few dozen gay organizations in the United States.
Within a few years, the number had risen to more than 400.
More reading about the riots...
Reprint of the original newpaper story
Another Poit of View
First hand account of the famous Stonewall Riot
History of the Gay Revolution!
History of the riots