Matthew Merlin and Michael Levine

Update: On June 24, 2016, President Barack Obama designated a new national monument at the site of the Stonewall Uprising, the first national monument to recognize the fight for LGBT rights.

levine_1969In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, in New York City’s Greenwich Village, police raided the Stonewall Inn. What followed was a series of demonstrations and protests—sometimes violent—by members of the LGBT community.

Considered to be the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement in the United States, the Stonewall Uprising played a significant role in beginning the process of unifying and organizing activists fighting for LGBT rights.

One of the patrons in the bar at the time of the raid was Michael Levine (above right). He was there on a date drinking and dancing when the “lights went up, the music went off and you could hear a pin drop.”

Michael came to StoryCorps with his friend Matthew Merlin (above left) to recall the night of the Stonewall Uprisings and how it changed him as a person and his outlook on the world.

Originally aired June 25, 2010, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Above: Michael Levine pictured in 1969. Photo courtesy of Michael Levine.