Statement of Significance (as of designation - February 16, 2000):
The Stonewall Inn was the scene of important events that sparked the modern struggle for the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans. In a pattern of raids and harassment of gay establishments, the New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn on the early morning of June 28, 1969. The reaction of the bars patrons and of the neighborhood crowd that assembled in the street was not typical of such raids, however. Instead of quietly dispersing, as police had come to expect, the crowd rioted as arrests of employees and patrons of the Stonewall Inn were made. This raid and the riot that ensued led to demonstrations and conflicts with the police outside the Stonewall Inn, in Christopher Park, and along neighboring streets until July 3, 1969. The Landmark includes the former bar, the park, and the streets where the events occurred. Stonewall is regarded by many as the single most important event that led to the modern gay and lesbian liberation movement. The Stonewall uprising was, as historian Lillian Faderman has written, "the shot heard round the world," crucial because it sounded the rally for the movement.