Something unremarkable happened on June 27, 1969 in New York's Greenwich Village, an event which had occurred a thousand times before across the U.S. over the decades. The police raided a gay bar. The events that followed marked the beginnings of the Gay Rights Movement.
The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are frequently cited as the first instance in American history when people in the homosexual community fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted sexual minorities, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.
In this 90-minute film, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE draws upon eyewitness accounts and rare archival material to bring this pivotal event to life. Based on David Carter's critically acclaimed book, Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, American Experience: Stonewall Uprising was produced by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner.
Today marks the 44th anniversary of the historic Stonewall Inn Riots in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York City.
The birthplace of the gay rights movement, The Stonewall has been the preferred location for celebration (or commiseration) anytime something significant happens regarding LGBT rights and this once again proved to be true this past week as thousands packed the street in front of the legendary bar to celebrate marriage equality.
Here's to the queers, misfits, trans people, drag queens, homeless LGBT youth and everyone else present who led the fight starting in the early morning hours on June 28, 1969. They are the reason we have Pride in the first place and our community and our country couldn't have made its historic leaps without you.
For more information about the beginnings of the Gay Rights Movement in the United States and the Stonewall Riots, please check out my series of post on Stonewall.