Fifty years ago today, June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular tavern for the local gay community in New York’s Greenwich Village. The inn’s patrons constantly faced harassment from the police. U.S. law at the time stated that it was illegal for gay people to dance with one another and they could not be served alcohol. Under the guise of enforcement, police arrests and discrimination continued.
During this particular raid, for the first time in history, the gay community said, “Enough.” Spontaneous demonstrations from gay bar-goers erupted, galvanizing the global gay rights movement.
Today, the protests that took place at Stonewall continue to inspire the ongoing fight for LGBTQ equality.
The Newseum remembers and celebrates this important day in history through its continued efforts to educate the public about the ways in which the LGBTQ community exercised its First Amendment freedoms to create lasting change as well as how LGBTQ advocates today continue to put these rights into practice.
Through our new exhibit, “Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement,” we explore what happened at the Stonewall Inn and how it gave rise to a 50-year fight for civil rights for LGBTQ Americans. “Rise Up” examines key moments in gay rights history, including the 1978 assassination of Harvey Milk, one of the country’s first openly gay elected officials; the AIDS crisis; former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank’s public coming out in 1987; the efforts for hate crime legislation; the implementation and later repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”; and the fight for marriage equality. “Rise Up” also takes a look at popular culture’s role in influencing attitudes about the LGBTQ community through film, television and music.
On this day, we hope you’ll join us in acknowledging the LGBTQ community and its champions.