Stonewall Riots [Exhibit Panel]


The seeds of Gay Pride go back to June 1969. Patrons at the Stonewall Inn, a Gay bar in New York City, forcefully and publicly resisted police harassment. Although the Stonewall Riots were not the beginning of the modern Gay rights movement, they became the preeminent symbol of Gay and Lesbian resistance and changed the movement forever.

In the early morning of June 28, New York City police raided Stonewall Inn. Police raids on Gay bards were routine at the time, but numerous raids in recent weeks had created a tinderbox atmosphere. The death of Gay icon Judy Garland provided a spark, and this time the crowd, fed up with continuous harassment, fought back, throwing bottles and barricading the police inside the bar.

News of the riot spread. Protesters filled the streets shouting “Gay Power” and openly engaged in defiant public displays of affection. The protests continued for several more evenings, swelling to an estimated one thousand people until the police shut down the protest in an extremely violent retaliatory attack.

In the fall of 1969, groups led a commemoration of the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. On June 28 1970, one year to the day of the raid on the Stonewall Inn, several hundred Gays and Lesbians gathered at a “Gay-In” that grew to thousands of participants. Similar celebrations occurred the same day in other cities.

June became Gay Pride month as a logical following of the annual commemorations of Stonewall.




“Stonewall Riots [Exhibit Panel],” Rainbow History Project Digital Collections, accessed May 27, 2024,

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