Just like the history of New York City, Stonewall has a rich and powerful history behind it. Most people would just see Stonewall as a typical rundown bar that entertains homosexuals. However New York City, a home where the revolution ignited, rounded up the most unique individuals from all the corners of the country to Stonewall.
“Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution,” by David Carter, begins with a full spectrum on the background of the historical landmark and each of the key players.
As noted by Carter, “In Chicago, sixteen-year-old Craig Rodwell, high school junior in 1957, left his mother’s apartment each weekday to walk to school… he heard that all queers lived in Greenwich Village. He immediately decided to move there as soon as possible, which meant after graduating from high school. He started walking to school.”
There are a lot of dedications and determinations as seen in Craig and all of the other key characters to go out of their way to discover the life they were meant to have.
During the ’60s homosexuality was still considered to be illegal and was seen as a psychological disease. If a person was known as a homosexual, he would go through therapy programs ranging from electrotherapy to other cruel treatments that forced homosexuals to live in an underground lifestyle. There was a limited number of gay bars in operation during this time. Police bribery was a common practice for the few well-known gay-friendly bars.
As the suppression continued, the revolution slowly built up to a high tension point. On one late June night in 1969, the cops, or “the devil with the blue dress on,” raided the bar. This was not like a usual raid that occurred frequently due to the fact the police continually assaulted the patrons. The raids and abuse were not accepted by the community and the event brought together heterosexual and homosexual citizens, which sparked what is now known as the Gay Revolution.
“Stonewall” is an insightful book that gives rich details about the spark of revolution that continues today and will continue for many years to come. Gay history, just as any other history in our country, is an important aspect of understanding our culture.