Stonewall National Monument
OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure
Welcome to the audio-described version of Stonewall National Monument’s official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Stonewall National Monument visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 24 minutes, which we have divided into 20 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections 1-5 cover the front of the brochure and detail demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York's Greenwich Village. Sections 6-20 cover the back of the brochure and provide information on the Gay Liberation Movement of the sixties and seventies.
OVERVIEW: Stonewall National Monument
Stonewall National Monument, located on Manhattan Island in New York City, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 7.7-acre national treasure is the first U.S. national monument dedicated to LGBT rights and history. It received its National Monument designation on June 24, 2016. Each year, thousands of visitors come to Stonewall to learn about the difficult and victorious fight of LGBT individuals to secure their civil rights. To contact the park directly, visit the "More Information" section at the end of this audio-described brochure.
OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure
The front of the brochure includes quotes and historic photographs. Most photos are black and white unless indicated as color. The texts focus on the Stonewall uprising that served as a milestone in launching the gay rights movement.
IMAGE: Stonewall Inn, June 28, 1969
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white group photo of young people standing in front of a weathered sign for the Stonewall Inn. A variety of ethnic backgrounds and gender identities are reflected in the group. Everyone in the photo is smiling, except for a young man on at the extreme left of the group, who is looking away from the camera.
CAPTION: On June 28, 1969, New York City police officers raided the Stonewall Inn. Street kids, who were among the first to fight, were joined by people gathered outside and then by supporters flocking Greenwich Village as news of the events spread.
CREDIT: New York Daily News
TEXT: A Movement Takes Shape
"There was no out, there was just in."
Through the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was a violation of law, rule, or policy. New York City’s prohibitions against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. People were arrested for wearing fewer than three articles of clothing that matched their sex. Serving alcoholic beverages to homosexuals was prohibited. For married men and women who lived homosexual lives in secret, blackmail was a constant threat. Discrimination and fear were tools to isolate people when homo-sexuality was hidden. After Stonewall, being “out and proud” in numbers was a key strategy that strengthened the movement.
IMAGES and TEXT: Uprising
IMAGE 1 of 2: Crowd scene
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photo of a group of young men and women being herded by police officers. The photo is taken over the shoulder of one police officer, whose shoulder and head make up the border of the right side of the photograph. In front of him, two more uniformed officers push a person with short curly hair back into the crowd. To the left of the frame, two individuals are vocalizing their protest, while a third, who stands behind and in-between them stares blankly into the camera. In the background, two men with white collared shirts are standing on something that elevates them above the crowd. The eyes of the elevated man on the right shine with the flash of the camera.
CREDIT: New York Daily News archive
IMAGE 2 of 2: The Stonewall Inn
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photograph of the facade of the Stonewall Inn, from a slight angle. The facade is brick, with a wooden doorway. Above the doorway is a brick arch. Beside the doorway is a large window, with some writing on the glass. The writing is too blurred to make out. While the Stonewall Inn is a two-story building, only the first story has a brick facade. The second story is off-white siding. Sticking out perpendicularly from the second story is a tall T-shaped sign, reading: "STONEWALL INN." The letters for Stonewall are stacked one on top of another, read top to bottom. the sign is old and weathered, and it has many small holes in it. There are four six-pane windows on the second story; one to the left of the sign, and three to the right. In the background, a brick skyscraper towers over the Stonewall Inn.
CAPTION: The Stonewall Inn, summer of 1969, after reopening and before the windows were repaired.
CREDIT: The New York Public Library
Stonewall was a milestone for LGBT civil rights that provided momentum for a movement. In the early hours of June 28, 1969, a police raid on the Stonewall Inn provoked a spontaneous act of resistance that earned a place alongside landmarks in American self-determination such as Seneca Falls Convention for women’s rights (1848) and the Selma to Montgomery March for African American voting rights (1965). Demonstrations continued over the next several nights at Christopher Park across from the Stonewall Inn and in the surrounding neighborhood. When asked to describe the difference that Stonewall had made, journalist Eric Marcus observed that before Stonewall, “There was no out, there was just in.”
People who would identify today as LGBT had few choices for socializing in public and many bars they frequented were operated by organized crime. Members of the police force were often paid in return for information about planned raids. Customers caught in a raid were routinely freed, but only after being photographed and humiliated. In the early hours of June 28, 1969, people fought back.
Following what at first appeared to be a routine raid, a crowd gathered outside to watch for friends in the bar. But as police vans came to haul away those arrested, the crowd became angry, began throwing objects, and attempted to block the way. The crowd’s aggression forced police to retreat and barricade themselves inside the Stonewall Inn. Onlookers joined in and attacked the bar with pennies, metal garbage cans, bricks, bottles, an uprooted parking meter, and burning trash. The confrontation grew as the department and the NYPD’s Tactical Patrol Force, trained for riot control, joined police reinforcements sent to the scene.
IMAGE and TEXT: Liberate Christopher Street!
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photograph in which a woman in a white jacket with wide sleeves raises her fist straight in the air in a cheer. Her mouth is open, and she looks upward. Behind her, two people stand side by side looking to the right of the frame. The nearer of the two raises a half-open hand, the middle finger extended slightly beyond the other fingers. The further individual raises a fist, obscuring the majority of the face. To the right of this group is a picket sign that reads: "DRAG it out in the OPEN." The sign has dark text on a light background, and the border is cut with a pattern of rounded protrusions around it.
The agitated crowd took to the streets chanting “Gay Power!” and “Liberate Christopher Street!” LGBT youth who gathered at Christopher Park — some of them homeless and with little social capital — challenged police, linked arms, and formed a blockade. Police charged the crowd, but rather than disperse, the mob retreated to the neighborhood they knew well with its network of narrow, winding streets, doubled-back, and regrouped near the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park, surprising the police. Demonstrator Tommy Schmidt described the feeling of being in the melee: “I was part of a mob that had a kind of deep identity and was acting as one force.” John O’Brien said, “What excited me was I finally was not alone.” Social change takes different forms. Pioneers organized and took a range of actions and approaches in the fight for their equality. Stonewall was a galvanizing moment that empowered a range of advocacy; some mainstream, and some non-conforming or militant, that rejected approaches based on assimilation.
"And that was the impact of Stonewall."
TEXT: A Word About Words
Words trace progress of the LGBT movement. They are intensely personal and politically powerful. In describing historic events, words used here are often the terms of the times and the people who said them, even if those terms are not used today. For example, “homophile,” meaning a positive attitude toward homosexuals, dissipated over time. “Trans-gender,” dates only from the mid-1980s and may not appear in an historic context, although many embrace it. In some places, “LGBT” is used although the people did not describe themselves that way.
OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure
The back of the brochure is filled with photographs of people marching, picketing and showing their support for the LGBT Movement. Information about how to get to the monument and accessibility features available at the monument are also included on the back of the brochure.
IMAGE: Gay is Good Button
DESCRIPTION: A photograph of a round promotional button. The button has a creamy yellow background, with red text, that reads: "Gay is Good" and "Drum." The words are stacked vertically and take up the totality of vertical space on the button. The letter Os in "Good" each have an arrow coming out of the top, angled to meet at the points.
IMAGE and TEXT: Employment Denied
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photograph of a group of protestors. The foreground predominantly features three men. The man on the left wears a dark collared, button-down shirt, tucked into his pants. He is focusing on something in the distance. The man in the middle appears to be saying something. He wears a T-shirt with thick horizontal stripes, tucked into his pants. He has a camera around his neck. The man on the right is older, and is looking directly at the camera with a tired smile. He wears a tight polo-shirt tucked into his pants and is holding a picket sign that says "GAY IS GOOD." The words are printed in block capitals and are stacked vertically. Behind the trio is a large crowd. Several picket signs can be seen in the background, but their texts are not readable in the photograph.
CAPTION: Associated Press
"Stonewall was a milestone, but it wasn't the first stand for LGBT rights"
A 1953 Executive Order banned homosexuals from federal employment. In 1957, Franklin (Frank) Kameny was fired as an astronomer for the US Army Map Service for being gay. Kameny fought dismissal, and in 1961, filed the first gay rights appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. That year, Kameny co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., with Jack Nichols, and helped to start the National LGBTQ Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign. He worked to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association and coined the phrase “Gay is Good.”
IMAGE and TEXT: Early Acts of Rebellion
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photograph of a storefront. Two large glass facades flank the entrance, a pair of glass doors. There are four people on the sidewalk in front of the store. One is walking to the left of the frame, away from the store. Two are passing by the store, walking toward the right. The fourth pedestrian, a man in a dark suit and tie, walks toward the camera. Above the sidewalk and the storefront is a thick overhang, with the words "Gene Comptons" written in stylized cursive along its edge. The overhang is suspended from the face of the building by four thick rods, each with a curved decorative pattern
In San Francisco’s Compton’s Cafeteria in 1966, officers grabbed a transgender patron, who, rather than surrendering as they expected, instead tossed coffee on them, setting off a riot. In response, reflecting on the era’s persistent treatment of homosexuality as a mental illness, the city created a network of social, mental, and medical services followed in 1968 by the National Transsexual Counseling Unit. In 1967, a violent raid at the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles led to a large demonstration days later.
IMAGE and TEXT: Protest
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photograph of a picket line. A woman with short hair leads a picket line. She wears a pin-striped sundress and dark glasses and holds a sign that reads: "Homosexuals should be judged as individuals." Behind her marches a young man in a white collared shirt, light trousers, and a long tie. He holds a sign that reads: "Support Homosexual Civil Rights." Behind them, the line curves, obscuring several participants. In the background, two more marchers are in the frame. The closer individual is wearing a dark jacket, light pants, and sunglasses. He holds a sign at an angle that obscures its message from the camera. Behind him marches a man in a white collared shirt and tie, with black trousers. He is holding an American flag. Behind the marchers are several shrubs and trees. In the extreme foreground is a white fence with the word "LIMIT" printed on it in black block letters.
CAPTION: Diana Davis, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library
Barbara Gittings organized the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis and in the 1960s organized some of the first protests against the federal government’s ban on employing homosexuals. Gittings helped to lobby until the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973 saying that her life mission was to tear away the “shroud of invisibility.”
IMAGE and TEXT: Sip-In
IMAGE 1 of 2: Sip-ins
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photograph of the interior of a bar. Five men in dark suit-jackets and ties line the bar, while a sixth stands behind them. The central man in the line is addressing the bartender, while the others watch him closely. The bartender, who wears a lighter jacket and tie, and thick glasses, has his arm outstretched, and rests his hand on a glass on the bar, covering its mouth. There are other patrons in the background, out of focus. At the left of the frame, the closest man at the bar is facing away from the group, with a pair of sunglasses perched on top of his head, looking contemplatively at something in the distance with his hand on his mouth.
CAPTION: Fred W. McDarrah
IMAGE 2 of 2: Street protests
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photograph of a line of marchers carrying signs. A man in a dark suit and tie, with a dark hat and dark glasses stands at the far right of the frame with his hands behind his back, looking directly at the camera. In front of him, marches a woman wearing dark glasses and a dress with horizontal stripes. She carries a sign that reads: "The American Way: Employment Based Upon Competence, Ability, Training; Not Upon Private Life." She is followed by a young man in a suit and tie. He wears glasses and is looking at the camera with a slight smirk. He carries a sign that reads: "U.S. claims no second-class citizenship; What about homosexual citizens?" Behind him walks a woman in a darker dress with dark glasses. Her face is obscured by the post of the sign she carries. It reads: "An inalienable right: the pursuit of happiness - for homosexuals too!!" Behind her is a man in a white coat, with glasses and a dark tie. He is looking at the ground in front of him and holding a sign with one hand. It reads: "Homosexual citizens want: Equal treatment as human beings." Behind him is an older woman in a floral print dress. She is looking sternly at something in the distance and holding a sign that reads: "Homosexual Citizens want: Full Human Dignity". The march continues behind her out of the frame, evidenced by a hand poking out of the far left edge of the frame, holding a partially obscured sign. Cars drive by the protestors.
CAPTION: Associated Press
Inspired by civil rights sit-ins in the South, the New York City Mattachine Society held a “sip-in” to challenge a regulation that prohibited bars from serving gay clients. In April 1966, with reporters in tow, activists declared they were gay and asked to be served at Julius’, a bar sympathetic to gay customers that was under observation by authorities. Publicity from the sip-in was a catalyst to reform the New York State Liquor Authority anti-LGBT policies.
The Mattachine Society, Philadelphia’s Janus Society, and the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis held protests in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 4, 1965 and on each of four successive July 4ths. Protesters demanded rights for homosexual Americans, emphasizing that a substantial number of Americans were denied “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Organizers enforced a strict dress code for participants to represent homosexuals as “presentable and employable.”
IMAGE and TEXT: After the Uprising
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photograph of a framed sign on a brick facade. The sign has a black background, and in a light text, reads: "We homosexuals plead with our people to please help maintain peaceful and quiet conduct on the streets of the village- Mattachine." There is an additional handwritten note to the right of this text, but it is obscured by the framing of the photo.
CREDIT: Fred W. McDarrah
After the uprising, the windows of the Stonewall Inn were boarded up, painted black, and quickly became message boards for the community. The Mattachine Society urged restraint while others sought more active responses and posted notices of meetings.
IMAGE and TEXT: Fighting Back
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photograph of a protest. In the photograph, a dark-skinned woman with long windswept black hair is standing in profile, observing something that is happening outside of the frame. She has a placid expression on her face and wears a thick fur coat. She is holding something in one hand. The object is obscured by the framing of the photograph. Behind this person in the background, protestors are holding signs and conversing with each other.
CREDIT: Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library
Marsha P. Johnson was one of the most outspoken members of the New York transgender community when she was targeted by police at the Stonewall Inn and among the first to fight back. In the early 1970s, Johnson and friend, Sylvia Rivera, co-founded STAR, the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, to support young “drag queens,” trans women, and street kids living on the Christopher Street docks and in STAR House on New York’s Lower East Side. Johnson continued street activism as an organizer with ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power).
IMAGE and TEXT: Christopher Street Liberation Day
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photograph of a sea of people sitting in a field, surrounded by trees. Various members in the crowd are holding banners above their heads. The banners read, from left to right: "Lesbians Unite," "Gay Pride," "Gay Pride," and "New York Mattachine."
CREDIT: Kay Tobin, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library
A year after the uprising, the first Christopher Street Gay Liberation March began with a few hundred people outside the Stonewall Inn and swelled to several thousand by the time it concluded in Central Park. These annual marches – part celebration, community builder, and political rally – showed LGBT people numbers and as a force that mainstream society had not previously recognized.
IMAGE and TEXT: Sylvia Rae Rivera
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photograph of a woman with shoulder-length curly hair walks with her arms outstretched down the middle of a city street. She wears a white dress with long sleeves and smiles gently at something behind the photographer. Behind her are other people marching in the street. A car follows directly behind her. City buildings stretch into the distance on either side of the street.
Sylvia Rae Rivera was an LGBT liberation and transgender activist. In addition to STAR, she was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance. Sometimes homeless herself, Rivera focused her activism to help people she believed that mainstream society and assimilationist LGBT groups left behind, particularly people of color.
IMAGE: Large Crowd
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white photograph of a large crowd of people, seen from above. At the center of the photograph, the only area where there are no people, there are several trees. In the extreme left foreground, a police officer watches the crowd from behind a barrier.
CAPTION: Stonewall National Monument is a place that the LGBT community and their allies gather in times of celebration, reflection, and sadness. Crowds here gather to remember the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016.
CREDIT: Big Gay Ice Cream
TEXT: Park Planning and Community Engagement
Stonewall National Monument is a new national park area with limited services. It is a park in progress and will take shape after public involvement. Check www.nps.gov/ston for updates about park planning. In the coming years, services will be added to the park in cooperation with partners.
TEXT: About Your Visit
For a safe visit, be aware of your surroundings and cross streets at the corners. The Stonewall Inn, across from the national monument, is a private business and working bar; patrons must be 21 years old to enter.
TEXT: Getting to the Park
The park is bounded by Christopher, Grove, and West Fourth Streets. By subway, take the Broadway 1 Line – 7th Avenue local to Christopher Street-Sheridan Square Station; or via the 7th Avenue bus line on the M8 or M20.
We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information, ask at the visitor center or visit our website: www.nps.gov/ston.
OVERVIEW: More Information
Stonewall National Monument is one of more than 400 parks in the National Park System. They reflect the American experience through natural wonders, sites of celebration, conscience, and civil rights such as Women’s Rights National Historical Park, and the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. Learn more about parks and how the National Park Service serves communities at www.nps.gov.
WEBSITE: More Information at www.nps.gov/ston.