Friday, June 26, 2009
Stonewall at 40: The Voice Articles That Sparked a Final Night of Rioting
via The Village Voice
Earlier this month, the New York Times published for the first time several photographs that were taken on July 2, 1969, the final night of the Stonewall uprising. The Times noted that few photographs exist of the six-day disturbance, so it was significant to find images all these years later that captured some of the action on the uprising's final night. The initial police raid on the Stonewall that started the riots happened five days earlier, on June 28. But on Wednesday, July 2, there was a new wave of anger and rioting. The cause: the Village Voice. That day, two articles appeared on the Voice's front page describing the struggle happening both inside and outside the Stonewall Inn. Voice reporter Howard Smith's piece described how he found himself trapped inside the Stonewall with police officers as they came under violent attack by the crowd -- at one point, Smith wishes he had a gun to defend himself, just like the cops. Writer Lucian Truscott IV reported on the agitated street scene outside the building. "Limp wrists were forgotten," Truscott writes, but his use of words like "faggot" and "faggotry" enraged gay activists. Anger at the pieces ran so high, rioters marched on the Voice office itself. Four decades on, here's another opportunity to see what caused all the fuss.
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