Gay Bar Gets National Parks Service Status

06/30/2016 21:03

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio helped to unveil the Stonewall National Monument sign at a designation ceremony in front of the historic gay bar, the Stonewall Inn on Monday.

President Barack Hussein Obama on Friday designated the site of a watershed event in the history of U.S. gay rights, the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, as a national monument, the first to recognize homosexual Americans.

 

The Stonewall Inn gay bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village was the scene of a police raid that triggered riots and ignited the campaign to bring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people into the American mainstream.

LGBT rights advocacy groups hailed the national recognition, saying it will help highlight the gay communities’ continued struggles, especially in the aftermath of the June 12 mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida that killed 49 people.

The events of late June and early July 1969 in New York helped start the modern American gay rights movement.

A week of violent clashes on Christopher Street between patrons of the Stonewall Inn and police, who had periodically raided the bar, arresting gays under morals laws of the era, became known as the Stonewall riots.

The crackdown was also tied up in a dispute between the Mafia, which owned the bar, and corrupt police officers seeking payoffs for protection. But it unleashed a year of protests, culminating with the first gay pride parade in 1970.

Obama’s designation protects about 7.7 acres (3.1 hectares) of land, including the Stonewall Inn and nearby Christopher Park. U.S. lawmakers representing New York, in a statement, called the site “a beacon for liberation.”

It drew renewed attention in the wake of this month’s massacre in Orlando at another gay venue, a nightclub called Pulse. Mourners in New York flocked to the inn and created a makeshift memorial after the shooting, the worst such attack in modern U.S. history. TRUNews

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