TOP 10: Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Stonewall

Posted on 30 Dec 2009 at 3:21pm
By David Taffet

Equality March Texas draws a crowd for a march to remember the Stonewall Rebellion and the birth of a movement

Commemorating the Stonewall Riots: Dallas marked the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion in New York City by participating in the Million Gay March down Cedar Springs Road to Lee Park on Sunday afternoon, June 28.. Dallas police estimated more than 1,000 people turned out for the event despite the 100-degree heat.

March organizer Daniel Cates said that with just three months to plan the event, they opted for the same route as the annual Pride parade. But Cates and another organizer Latisha McDaniel agreed that they hoped to repeat the march in 2010, and move it out of the ‘gayborhood" to reach a broader audience.

Marches were held in cities across the country that same day to remember the events that occurred in New York City the week of June 28, 1969.

Police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. Rather than submit to police intimidation, people protested. Those demonstrations mark the beginning of the modern LGBT rights movement.

All of the conditions were right for the bar raid that night to be different. Funeral services for gay icon Judy Garland had taken place in New York City. That night, bars were filled with mourners.

At the time, mobsters usually owned the gay bars and they paid off the police for protection. The owner of the Stonewall Inn got tired of that arrangement or couldn’t afford them and stopped his payoffs, prompting the raid.

At 1:15 a.m., police entered the bar, as they had many times before. They turned on the lights and turned off the jukebox. But unlike previous raids, they ordered some people to leave and detained others. Some tried to flee.

Rather than go quietly, the bar’s patrons and other LGBT people in the neighborhood started a rebellion that lasted five nights.

The first gay Pride parade was held in New York the last weekend in June 1970, to commemorate the first anniversary of the rebellion. In June 1999, the Stonewall Inn gained National Historic Landmark status.

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