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Stonewall Inn

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A landmark in the gay rights movement

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Greenwich Village
Commercial, Gathering Place

Place Matters Profile

Written by Eric César Morales for Place Matters
In the 1960s, New York City had one of the largest gay populations in the country. However, police regularly raided gay bars and clubs to enforce “morality” laws that prohibited people from cross-dressing, same-sex couples from dancing, and businesses from selling alcohol to the gay community. These raids were the physical manifestations of tolerated, city-sanctioned harassment. On June 28, 1969, during a raid on Stonewall Inn, homeless street kids took a stand against police by first throwing pennies at officers. The skirmish escalated into three days of rioting, demonstrations, and street battles. Known as the Stonewall Uprising, the Stonewall Riots, or simply Stonewall, the events created a media sensation, garnering international attention. They inspired LGBTQ communities around the world to rise up in protest of discrimination, spurring forth the modern gay rights movement and the international fight for equality.

Located on Christopher...

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Carter, David, 2010. Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution. New York, NY: St.
Martin’s Press.

Carter, David, Andrew Scott Dolkart, Gale Harris, and Jay Shockley, 1999. “National Historic Landmark Nomination.”

“Stonewall,” 2000. National Historic Landmarks program.

“The Stonewall Inn,” 1999. Greenwich Village History.

Weems, Mickey. 2011. “Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park.” Qualia Encyclopedia of Gay Folklife.

Additional Sites of Interest:
PBS: American Experience

New York Public Library’s Online Exhibition

On The Web

The Stonewall Inn


Joseph DeFilippis (SAGE/Queens)

In 1969 a group of Stonewall patrons (mostly drag queens) rebelled against the police, resulting in three days of riots and the birth of the modern gay rights movement.

Cory Thorne

Often cited as the location of the start of the gay rights movement worldwide, the Stonewall is an international icon of hope, fear, and survival. Unfortunately, according to the latest headlines, this site is under immediate threat.

On my first trip to New York, the Stonewall was at the top of my list of places to visit - this coming from someone who grew up in distant Newfoundland. In some ways, I saw the place as a shrine - a symbol of hope. (August, 2006)

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