Sunday, August 6, 2017

‘The Stonewall Riots could only be started by someone who was tired and black’

Marsha P. Johnson lobbed a brick at cops and helped launch the gay rights movement in 1969.
(The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson)

By Myles E. Johnson

The first thing I noticed about the Greenwich Village neighborhood in New York City was its cleanliness. It was, in fact, beyond clean. It was sterile. Sanitized. Throngs of gay white men poured out of bars and restaurants. Beer-stained voices seemed to echo from the buildings. I had never been there before. I walked the streets alone listening to conversations about jobs and luxury clothing labels, searching for a reasonable drink in the very part of town that I was promised I would feel a deep connection to.

In the Summer of 1969, this neighborhood, these streets were the site of the Stonewall riots, the event that launched the gay liberation movement. It now looked gutted and cleaned like a lot of the cities currently look where the militant uprisings of 1967 (commonly referred to as The Long Hot Summer of 1967) took place. I do not think it is coincidental that the places of yesterday’s resistance and radicalism are now merely strip malls, which feel as radical as the clever name of the coffee shop allows them to be. I was promised to feel transported, and in a way I was.  Read more >>