Last week after Orlando I wrote about landmarks donning LGBT colors at night to show their support for the Orlando victims and the LGBT community as a whole and now there is an LGBT landmark to celebrate the community. A few days ago President Obama designated The Stonewall Monument as a destination protected by America’s National Parks system, similar to the statue of Liberty.
In the late 60’s, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the Stonewall Inn (located in Greenwhich Village) was a hot spot within the gay community. At that time The Village was a haven of intellectuals, home to the members of the Beat Movement, most notably Allen Ginsberg (himself a gay man). The Village Voice, still considered one of the more influential newspapers in the city, was gaining a lot of readers from all walks of life.
— Valerie Jarrett (@vj44) June 27, 2016
Though The Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia, it catered to the LGBT community and since the legal system at the time was unfriendly toward the group, the establishment often played host to raids. The raids were almost commonplace in similar bars (and in this case actually justifiable as the bar didn’t have a liquor license) but on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, the situation escalated out of the police officer’s control and quickly turned into a riot. Clashes between patrons and the police spilled into nearby streets and neighborhoods and was not calmed until the deployment of the city’s riot police.
The monument covers nearly 8 acres in New York's Greenwich Village including a landmark gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. pic.twitter.com/YfwLG04QBd
— NPR (@NPR) June 24, 2016
The riot was followed by days of demonstrations and signified the organization of the LGBT community in New York and San Francisco. On the first anniversary of the riot, the city’s first gay pride parade took place on the streets where they were still mostly unwelcome. President Obama’s decision to make The Stonewall Inn a national monument may not be the most famous aspect of his legacy in future years, but it speaks of the progress that the United States has made.
Featured Image: [Flickr/Travis Wise]