What were the Stonewall Riots?
The early hours of June 28th 1969 saw violence break out during a police raid at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in New York. Frequented by the gay community, the Stonewall Inn was well used to being raided, but this night was different as the patrons and community pushed back against the brutality of the corrupt police force. Spurred by the manhandling of a drag queen as she was forced into the back of a patrol wagon, the gathering crowd started hitting back, forcing the police to take refuge in the Stonewall Inn – which then itself became the target of bottles and stones before having its door beaten down by an uprooted parking meter that had become a makeshift battering ram.
The police, humiliated and beaten were forced to retreat but returned in greater numbers. Forming a phalanx they slowly marched forward, attempting to clear the streets. But the crowd openly mocked the charge, forming kick lines across the street from the advancing police.
Eventually, by the early hours, the unrest died down but the next evening saw hundreds of people flood into the area around the Stonewall Inn which despite being badly damaged had reopened. Something had changed though and a feeling of liberation swept through the community. No longer were the LGBT+ community going to be cowed into their secretive bars and hideaways.
Whilst it wasn’t the first action in the LGBT rights movement, the actions of those two evenings fortified the feeling that the community wouldn’t be ashamed but rather would stand together, proud of their identities and free to love who they wanted.
1970 saw the first Christopher Street Liberation day, marking the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The modern Pride movement evolved from this celebration to become the international month long celebration that it is today.
The Artist: Chloe Slater
PRSC's Technical Manager Chloe is as comfortable wielding power tools as she is designing mugs and screen prints.
Material: English Fine Bone China
Dimensions: H 8.9cm
Dishwasher Safe: It's up to you
Microwave Safe: Yes, unless it has gold leaf or platinum lustre!