On the night of June 27, 1969, the usual crowd gathered at the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village. New York Beverage Control Board agents and NYC police officers raided the bar to enforce an alcohol control law that was seldom imposed anywhere else in the city.
Raids on Gay establishments, however, were common at the time and were conducted regularly with little or no resistance. Fearful Gay patrons were often physically forced out of their gathering places, sometimes beaten, and arrested, with no just cause just for simply congregating.
On this historic night, Lesbians and Gay men together fought back against police harassment for the first time.
In 1985, a relatively new organization, the Michigan Organization for Human Rights (MOHR) hired an Executive Director from Ohio, Craig Covey, in part because of the large and successful Gay and Lesbian civil rights marches he organized in Columbus. In 1986, Craig Covey and MOHR organized Michigan’s first Gay and Lesbian march in Detroit. From 1986-1988, the civil rights march took place down Woodward Avenue followed by a rally at Kennedy Square. A party took place at the McGregor Center on the campus of Wayne State University following the rally, organized by a small number of dedicated Gay and Lesbian groups and volunteers.