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Remembering Stonewall

These apps explore the uprising that galvanized the gay rights movement.

In June 1969, New York City police raided a popular Mafia-run gay bar in Greenwich Village called the Stonewall Inn. At the time, such raids were hardly uncommon. But the reaction to this one was.

Incensed at the constant harassment and repression, the men and women in the bar fought back, bringing six days of protests and demonstrations to the streets. The event, which came to be known as the Stonewall rebellion, sparked the modern gay-rights movement in America.

The summer of 2019 marks its 50th anniversary, and celebrations are planned around the world. The event is being recognized in the app world too. To learn more—or start learning—about a turning point in American history, read on.


Stonewall Uprising
Released in 2010, this acclaimed American Experience documentary is one of the starkest looks at the rebellion. It draws on archival films and reenactments, as well as interviews with protestors and witnesses like NYPD deputy inspector Seymour Pine. Watch with Prime Video and PBS Video.

Before Stonewall and After Stonewall
These two documentaries—released in 1984 and 1999, respectively—cover the history of the gay-rights movement before and after the rebellion. Before Stonewall looks all the way back to the 1920s for historical context, while After Stonewall covers the modern era, exploring the AIDS crisis and featuring interviews with Allen Ginsberg and Barney Frank, among others. Watch with Prime Video.

Pay It No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson
A trans activist and one of the rebellion’s most outspoken voices, Johnson became a prominent face of Stonewall. But shortly after the 1992 Pride March, her body was found floating in the Hudson River. This documentary—which includes the last interview she ever gave—tells her biography, up to and including her mysterious death. Watch with YouTube.

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Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution
, by David Carter
The basis for PBS’s Stonewall Uprising, Carter’s definitive book offers an hour-by-hour recap of the rebellion as well as rich context. It sets the scene by spotlighting notable people and places in Greenwich Village at the time and ends with the first gay-pride parade, held in 1970.

Stonewall: The Definitive Story of the LGBTQ Rights Uprising That Changed America, by Martin Duberman
In his powerful book, Duberman tells the story of Stonewall through the lens of four men and two women, weaving their six stories into a single narrative. In addition to tracking the events of that night, the approach makes Stonewall double as a snapshot of the growing gay-rights movement in the ’60s.

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This summer, the iconic storytelling podcast is dedicating an entire season to LGBTQ+ issues to commemorate the Stonewall anniversary. Throughout the season, StoryCorps will premiere more than a dozen new episodes focusing on narratives from older and younger generations within the LGTBQ+ community. On June 25, the podcast will re-release StoryCorps founder Dave Isay’s 1989 radio documentary, “Remembering Stonewall,” the first ever to cover the events of the night in 1969. And all throughout June, StoryCorps will ask listeners to use the free StoryCorps app to record the stories of people in the LGBTQ+ community who were born before the riots. Like all StoryCorps recordings, theirs will be permanently archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Listen with StoryCorps.

The Bowery Boys
With more than 275 episodes dedicated to New York City history, this long-running podcast first aired a Stonewall episode back in 2008. In 2017, hosts Greg Young and Tom Meyers aired a follow-up, supplementing the original broadcast with segments about the Stonewall National Monument and NYC’s role in the birth of the modern gay-rights movement. Listen with Apple Podcasts.


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