Edmund White on Stonewall

Posted on 19 Jun 2009 at 12:02pm

As I was looking around online for information about the Stonewall Riots, I found a site called OutHistory.org, which, in honor of the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, just posted some never-before-published police reports from the riots.

They also have re-posted a letter written y Edmund White to his friends, poet Alfred Corn and his wife Ann.

(Ya’ll know who Edmund White is, right? Author of “A Boy’s Own Story,” “The Beautiful Room is Empty,” and so many, many more.)

I found the letter to be a fascinating read, so I wanted to share it here on Instant Tea.

Here’s just a little bit:

“As the Mafia owners were dragged out one by one and shoved into the wagon, the crowd would let out Bronx cheers and jeers and clapping. Someone shouted “Gay Power,” others took up the cry–and then it dissolved into giggles. A few more gay prisoners–bartenders, hatcheck boys–a few more cheers, someone starts singing “We Shall Overcome”–and then they started camping on it. A drag queen is shoved into the wagon; she hits the cop over the head with her purse. The cop clubs her. Angry stirring in the crow. The cops, used to the cringing and disorganization of the gay crowds, snort off. But the crowd doesn’t disperse. Everyone is restless, angry and high-spirited. No one has a slogan, no one even has an attitude, but something’s brewing.”

Go on over to OutHistory.org to read the whole thing. It’s worth the time.

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