That’s the Stonewall.
The Stonewall Inn.
History walks through that door.
In 1969 being gay in the United States was a criminal offense. It meant living a closeted life or surviving on the fringes of society. People went to jail, lost jobs, and were disowned by their families for being gay. Most doctors considered homosexuality a mental illness. There were few safe havens. The Stonewall Inn, a Mafia-run, filthy, overpriced bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, was one of them.
Police raids on gay bars happened regularly in this era. But one hot June night, when cops pounded on the door of the Stonewall, almost nothing went as planned. Tensions were high. The crowd refused to go away. Anger and frustration boiled over.
The raid became a riot.
The riot became a catalyst.
The catalyst triggered an explosive demand for gay rights.
Ann Bausum’s riveting exploration of the Stonewall Riots and the national Gay Rights movement that followed is eye-opening, unflinching, and inspiring.
Bausum (Stubby the War Dog) offers a powerful and moving account of the pivotal Stonewall riots of 1969 and the struggle for gay rights in the U.S. The riots occurred after police raided the Stonewall Inn, a grungy, mafia-run gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood. "The tension of that night and countless previous nights and hundreds of lifetimes of abuse burst the dams of person after person. The crowd became a mob, and the mob began to riot." Bausum's conversational storytelling whisks readers back to an era when homosexuality was criminalized; after a brief introduction to the night of the raid ("For starters, there was a full moon. And it was beastly hot"), the narrative backtracks a decade to set the context for the violent demonstrations that ensued. A fast-paced accounting reveals how the first riot unfolded, both inside and outside the bar. Final chapters bring the battle for gay civil rights up to the present, with particular attention paid to the AIDS epidemic, pride parades, and the fight for marriage equality. Archival photos, source notes, and a bibliography are included. Ages 12 up.