The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the gay community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Patrons of the Stonewall, other Village lesbian and gay bars and neighborhood street people fought back when the police became violent. The riots are widely considered to constitute one of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement and the twentieth century fight for LGBT rights in the United States.
Gay Americans in the 1950s and 1960s faced an anti-gay legal system. Early homosexual groups in the U.S. sought to prove that gay people could be assimilated into society and they favored non-confrontational education for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. The last years of the 1960s, however, were contentious, as many social/political movements were active, including the civil rights movement, the counterculture of the 1960s and the anti-Vietnam War movement. These influences, along with the progressive environment of Greenwich Village, served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.