Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Stonewall Riots: Eyewitness Accounts

Some eyewitnesses to history:

Edmund White is the author of A Boy's Own Story (1982) and The Farewell Symphony (1997), among other books and essays. He wrote a letter just a few days after the Stonewall Riots in 1969 to his friends, poet Alfred Corn and his wife Ann. Here is an excerpt:
As the Mafia owners were dragged out one by one and shoved into the wagon, the crowd would let out Bronx cheers and jeers and clapping. Someone shouted "Gay Power," others took up the cry--and then it dissolved into giggles. A few more gay prisoners--bartenders, hatcheck boys--a few more cheers, someone starts singing "We Shall Overcome"--and then they started camping on it. A drag queen is shoved into the wagon; she hits the cop over the head with her purse. The cop clubs her. Angry stirring in the crow. The cops, used to the cringing and disorganization of the gay crowds, snort off. But the crowd doesn't disperse. Everyone is restless, angry and high-spirited. No one has a slogan, no one even has an attitude, but something's brewing.
Read the entire letter, courtesy of OutHistory.Org HERE.

Lucien Truscott covered the Riots for The Village Voice (his coverage gets a snide critique in Edmund White's letter). Truscott asserts that "the gay community" didn't fight back on those hot summer nights back in 1969:
A prominent Stonewall myth holds that the riots were an uprising by the gay community against decades of oppression. This would be true if the “gay community” consisted of Stonewall patrons. The bar’s regulars, though, were mostly teenagers from Queens, Long Island and New Jersey, with a few young drag queens and homeless youths who squatted in abandoned tenements on the Lower East Side.
Read the entire New York Times article HERE.

Retired NYPD Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine still contends that the initial raid on the Stonewall Inn was "right". Read the article from The Advocate HERE.

Finally, hot Papi Raymond Castro (above) - now retired and living in Florida with his partner of 30 years - tells his story to MSNBC HERE.


jahhy said...

Gay Pride Day!!!

Kisses, David.

Howard said...

Go Pride!

Berry Blog said...

I was one of those homeless youths that night.

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