On Monday, April 25th, the PBS series AMERICAN EXPERIENCE will premiere the acclaimed documentary STONEWALL UPRISING, by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner. In June 1969, the gay community experienced their "Rosa Parks moment," as one participant recalls, when the N.Y.P.D. raided a Mafia-run gay bar, The Stonewall Inn. For the first time ever, patrons refuse to be led into paddy wagons, setting off a 3-day uprising that launched the gay rights movement.
Veteran filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner (Adolescent Addict, Jockey) explore the dramatic event that launched a worldwide rights movement. Told by those who took part, from drag queens and street hustlers to police detectives, journalists and a former mayor of New York, and featuring a rich trove of archival footage, STONEWALL UPRISING: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE revisits a time when homosexual acts were illegal throughout America, and homosexuality itself was seen as a form of mental illness. Hunted and often entrapped by undercover police in their hometowns, gays from around the U.S. began fleeing to New York in search of a sanctuary. Hounded there still by an aggressive police force, they found refuge in a Mafia-run gay bar in Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn. When police raided Stonewall on June 28, 1969, gay men and women did something they had not done before: they fought back. As the streets of New York erupted into violent protests and street demonstrations, the collective anger announced that the gay rights movement had arrived.