cache 480 240 4 0 80 16777215 081442 Im Stonewall Riots, The

Defining Moments

The Stonewall Riots

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Defining Moments: The Stonewall Riots provides a detailed account of the June 28, 1969, raid on a popular gay bar by New York City police that launched a six-day series of violent protests and inspired the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) civil rights movement in the United States. It begins by exploring the atmosphere of homophobia and legalized discrimination against LGBT people that existed prior to the riots, including the American Psychiatric Association’s classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, state sodomy laws that criminalized private sexual acts, and the federal government’s ban on homosexual employees. It then offers a detailed account of the raid on the Stonewall Inn, the protests that rocked New York City, and their role in spurring public debate about LGBT rights. It then presents the milestones in the organized effort to secure equal rights and promote full acceptance of LGBT individuals in American society—from the AIDS crisis of the 1980s to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on gay marriage—as well as the perspectives of those who have opposed this movement on religious or moral grounds. The volume concludes by examining the legacy of the Stonewall Riots in American history and the challenges that continue to face LGBT people today.

The volume is organized into three distinct sections—Narrative Overview, Biographies, and Primary Sources—which offer a one-stop resource for student research.

  • The Narrative Overview section provides a detailed, factual account of the events leading up to the Stonewall Riots, the issues that arose during the events, and their legacy in American society
  • The Biographies section presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the Stonewall Riots
  • The Primary Sources section collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era, including official documents, first-hand accounts, memoirs, and other important works

Other notable features include a glossary of important people, places, and terms; a detailed chronology featuring page references to relevant sections of the narrative; an annotated listing of selected sources for further study; an extensive general bibliography; and a subject index.

Standard Features

  • Library binding, 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
  • 240 pages
  • 30-40 photographs and other illustrations
  • Narrative Overview section: Provides a detailed, factual account of the “defining moment”
  • Biographies section: Presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the event
  • Primary Sources section: Collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era
  • Research Topics: Proposes a list of topics suitable for conducting historical research and writing reports, a valuable starting point for student research
  • Source Attribution: Contains references for primary sources and other quoted material that guide users to other historical research resources
  • Glossary of Important People, Places, and Terms: Gives brief definitions for the many terms used in the book
  • Chronology: Highlights the related events in chronological order, along with “see” references that direct the reader to pages in the narrative with additional information
  • Sources for Further Study: Provides annotated citations for selected sources that are most useful to students
  • Bibliography: Lists books, periodicals, web sites, and videos consulted in preparing the volume
  • Subject Index: Includes people, places, organizations, events, and other topics

Research Topics

Each volume in the Defining Moments series covers a wide range of topics that students can use as starting points for further research.


“A thorough examination of this watershed event. … Provid[es] necessary context for the historic event, first by charting the centuries of oppression and discrimination that sparked the explosive incident, and second by examining the post-riot struggle for gay rights through the 2015 legalization of gay marriage. … Comprehensive, well researched, and well documented. … Especially useful as a reference work for classroom research and reference.”

—Booklist, June ‘16

“This scholarly examination of the Stonewall Riots includes a plethora of information, from an extensive historical summary to biographies of the key players of this defining moment. … Most other books on Stonewall stick to the facts of the raid on the Stonewall Inn. Hillstrom’s book offers much more than a simple story by offering the history prior to the Stonewall Riots and following up with its effects throughout the LGBT rights movement. … A key aid in understanding the LGBT movement, this book offers history and hope for interested students. ”

—VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates, August, ‘16