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Ahead Of Stonewall’s 50th Anniversary, A Look At The Demonstrations That Kicked Off The LGBT Rights Movement

Protesters outside the Black Cat in Silver Lake
Protesters outside the Black Cat in Silver Lake

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In the early hours of June 28, 1969, patrons at The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village fought back against a New York City police raid and started a riot that’s widely hailed as the catalyst of the LGBT rights movement.

The Stonewall Inn was known to be a gay bar, but at the time, same-sex handholding, kissing or dancing was illegal – meaning gay bars were often the subject of police raids. Police roughed up patrons of the bar and arrested 13 people during the raid, but instead of dispersing, many people who had been at Stonewall or nearby stayed outside the bar. Tensions rose as police continued to be physical with the patrons and soon the crowd began to throw bottles, pennies, and other objects at the officers. The altercation quickly turned into a full-blown riot that lasted for six days.

Fifty years later, AirTalk remembers Stonewall, as well as preceding LGBT rights protests – including one in 1967 at Silver Lake’s Black Cat tavern.

With guest host Libby Denkmann


Lillian Faderman, author and historian specializing in lesbian and LGBT history; she tweets @lillianfaderman

Alexei Romanoff, the last known member of the original Pride organization, which organized the protest at The Black Cat in Silver Lake in 1967; he is 82