The Stonewall Inn: 54 years later

June 28, 2023

This place represents a real inflection moment in this movement, which is a movement that is about equality, that is about freedom, a movement that is about safety.

United States Vice President Kamala Harris while visiting the Stonewall Inn, where the modern LGBTQ+ civil rights movement began 54 years ago today.

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 New York City one year later, contributing to the establishment of what is now Pride Month. The area around the Stonewall Inn was designated as a national monument in 2016.

  • 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 same-sex relationships were still considered a crime.
  • June 28, 1969, however, was unique; 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.”

Library Of Congress: Stonewall Uprising of 1969

Vice President Kamala Harris makes a surprise visit to NYC’s Stonewall Inn

Inside the first pride parade

by Jenna Lee,