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Before Stonewall, there was the riot at LA's Black Cat Tavern




Demonstrators in February 1967 took to the streets following the police arrests at the Black Cat Tavern on New Year's.
Demonstrators in February 1967 took to the streets following the police arrests at the Black Cat Tavern on New Year's.
ONE Archives at the USC Libraries
Demonstrators in February 1967 took to the streets following the police arrests at the Black Cat Tavern on New Year's.
In February 1967, hundreds of demonstrators marched against the LAPD's treatment of homosexuals. Many could be arrested for lewd conduct, which at the time included kissing. Six were charged for that on New Year's Day at the Black Cat Tavern in Silver Lake.
ONE Archives at USC Libraries
Demonstrators in February 1967 took to the streets following the police arrests at the Black Cat Tavern on New Year's.
Protesters in front of the Black Cat Tavern in February 1967. Two years before the Stonewall riots in NYC, an arrest at the bar sparked one of the first gay rights demonstrations in the country.
ONE Archives at USC Libraries
Demonstrators in February 1967 took to the streets following the police arrests at the Black Cat Tavern on New Year's.
Hundreds of people took to the streets in February 1967. They were angry at the LAPD action against LGBT people at places like the Black Cat Tavern in Silver Lake.
ONE Archives at USC Libraries
Demonstrators in February 1967 took to the streets following the police arrests at the Black Cat Tavern on New Year's.
A report on the arrests at the Black Cat Tavern in 1967. The PRIDE Newsletter would eventually evolve into The Advocate, one of the nation's first LGBT publications.
ONE Archives at the USC Libraries


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The 1969 riots at NYC's Stonewall Inn were a historic turning point for the LGBT rights movement.

But often overlooked are the arrests that happened two years prior at the Black Cat Tavern in LA's Silver Lake neighborhood.

On New Year's 1967, gay patrons were celebrating in the usual ways to ring in the new year – hugging and kissing.

That's when undercover LAPD officers stepped in to raid the bar, ending the night with violence Sixteen people were arrested with six charged with lewd conduct because of that kissing.

It sparked one of the first gay rights demonstrations in the country. Weeks later in February, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets demanding that the LAPD change its policy towards gay people.

The event also sparked the rise of The Advocate, then known as the news magazine The Los Angeles Advocate and one of the first LGBT-publications.

The demonstrations at the Black Cat don't get as much attention as Stonewall, but many activists believe it's just as important.

Cary Harrison, advisor to The Lavender Effect, an organization that collects the history of the LGBT rights movement, tells Take Two more of that history.