On June 28, 1969, patrons and passers-by resisted a New York Police Department raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. In what became known as the Stonewall Rebellion, activists and allies fought for six days, demanding an end to police harassment in gay and lesbian establishments. Though activists made some strides in demanding LGBTQ civil and human rights in the first half of the century, the Stonewall Rebellion was a landmark event.
LGBTQ activism gained momentum after Stonewall. Advocates called for reform in laws and public policies that victimized members of the LGBTQ community. At the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979, demonstrators demanded a rights bill and an executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. Dr. King’s widow, civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, became a supporter of the Gay Rights Movement, endorsing the Gay and Civil Rights Act in speeches and interviews.