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Remembering Stonewall

Premiered July 1, 1989

Sylvia Rivera

Sylvia Rivera

On Friday, June 27, 1969, eight officers from the public morals section of the first division New York City Police Department pulled up in front of the Stonewall Inn, one of the city’s largest and most popular gay bars.

At the time, the vice squad routinely raided gay bars. Patrons always complied with the police, frightened by the prospect of being identified in the newspaper. But this particular Friday night was different. What began with a drag queen clobbering her arresting officer soon escalated into a full-fledged riot, and sparked the modern gay rights movement.

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This documentary, broadcast on the 20th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, is the first documentary about the riots. It weaves together the perspectives of the participants, from Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine, who marshaled the raid, to Sylvia Rivera, one of the drag queens who battled most fiercely that night. It was produced by StoryCorps founder Dave Isay and Michael Scherker.

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