Fifty years ago, events in a New York City neighborhood proved to be a turning point in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights movement in the United States.
The Stonewall riots, also called Stonewall uprising, inspired LGBT people around the country to assert their rights on a broader scale.
The Stonewall Inn became a rallying point for gay rights on June 28, 1969, when a police raid on the bar led to resistance from patrons and neighborhood residents, which resulted in six days of demonstrations.
In June 2016, President Barack Obama designated the area surrounding The Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park as Stonewall National Monument.
“Stonewall isn’t just a building,” said Cortney Worrall, Northeast senior regional director for National Parks Conservation Association. “It is a place that catalyzed great change in our country in 1969. The events that took place in June of that year at Stonewall are a part of United States’ civil rights history, marking a turning point for the modern LGBT civil rights movement.”
NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project and the National Parks Conservation Association have collaborated on a 45-minute LGBT self-guided walking tour of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village that includes sites associated with the events of Stonewall and LGBT history.
“In 2017, NPCA and its partners launched the first walking tour of 20 historic sites historically significant to the LGBT community in and around the monument,” Worrall said. “Nearly two years later, the walking tour continues to give visitors from around the world the experience of discovering a rich history. The importance of LGBT life in New York City’s Greenwich Village, long before and after the uprising, can only fully be understood by visiting the sites and walking the streets — streets so compact their physical layout played a role in preventing the police in 1969 from stopping the uprising.”
Maps are available at the national monument and can be downloaded from nyclgbtsites.org and npca.org.
“Stonewall National Monument, the first national park site dedicated to LGBT history, recognizes the key role the surrounding neighborhood played in the movement,” Worrall said. “Immersing ourselves in this powerful national park — and our more than 400 park sites across the country — is how we as a nation remember our painful past and ensure we don’t repeat our mistakes.”
Among the sites on the tour are Christopher Park, The Stonewall Inn, Ridiculous Theatrical Co. (currently the Axis Theatre Company), the Mattachine Society (currently Kettle of Fish), the site of the start of New York’s first Pride March, Stewart’s Cafeteria (currently Bank of America) and Julius’ Bar. Julius’ was the site of the 1966 “Sip-In” by the Mattachine Society, an early LGBT rights group, challenging the New York State Liquor Authority’s discriminatory policy of revoking the license of bars that served gay men and lesbians.
Inside Christopher Park, travelers can see George Segal’s Gay Liberation monument; the statues were added in 1992.
“Our mission is to make the invisible history of New York City’s LGBT community, which can be felt throughout the city but particularly here in Greenwich Village, a visible and better understood facet of our city’s historical fabric,” said Jay Shockley, co-director of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, the nonprofit group responsible for the historical research to inform the tour.
“The public’s response to the tour has been very, very gratifying,” he added. “Everyone who has taken it has learned something new.”
National Parks Conservation Association
NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
Celebrate the Year of Pride
NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organization, has declared 2019 as the Year of Pride. NYC is the leading LGBTQ destination in the U.S. year after year and welcomes visitors of all genders, all ages and from all parts of the U.S. and the world.
NYC is offering a collection of Pride activities and events to enjoy before, after and during WorldPride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in June.
“We have declared 2019 the Year of Pride, to not only celebrate WorldPride and Stonewall 50 but to acknowledge the perpetual spirit of New York City’s vibrant LGBTQ community,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. “In addition to the iconic events in June, the city is brimming with a yearlong roster of cultural activity.”
WorldPride will take place in New York City — the first time the global event will be held in the U.S. — from June 25–30, with an anticipated 4 million visitors.