The Stonewall Inn was the flashpoint of a series of riots that are credited with kickstarting the LGBT civil rights movement as a whole, so it’s fitting that the location was chosen as the first protected national monument specifically dedicated to telling the story of the LGBT community’s struggle for equal rights. President Barack Obama announced on June 24 that he’s adding the historic area around the bar in Greenwich Village to the National Park System.
“I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s National Park System. Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights, Obama said. “I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.”
The riots that grew out of a police raid of the Inn in 1969 are largely cited as the beginning of the gay rights movement in the United States. The first ever Gay Pride marches were organized in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to mark the one year anniversary of the riots and grew from there, spreading to every major city in the country. June being officially recognized as Pride month directly stems from the riots that happened at this new national monument over 50 years ago.
The dedication sends a particularly strong message in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting, which was an attack on a specific LGBT community and the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. The inn served as a gathering point for NYC vigils in the wake of that tragedy.