David Carter, a Historian of Stonewall, Is Dead at 67

Historians in the News
tags: obituaries, LGBTQ history, Stonewall Riot

David Carter, whose careful research into the Stonewall Inn uprising of 1969, a pivotal event in gay rights history, culminated in an authoritative book on the subject and helped win the area in Greenwich Village where the episode occurred a listing in the National Register of Historic Places, died on May 1 at his home in Manhattan. He was 67.

His brother, William, said the cause was a heart attack.

Mr. Carter’s best-known book, “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution,” was published in 2004, when a younger generation might not have fully appreciated how oppressive life was for gay men and women in the New York of the 1960s. Mr. Carter conjured the times bluntly.

“By 1966 over one hundred men were arrested each week for ‘homosexual solicitation’ as a result of police entrapment,” he wrote. “In the mid-1960s — the very time when a wave of freedom, openness, and demand for change was cresting — New York City increased its enforcement of anti-homosexual laws to such an extent that it amounted to an attempt to impose police-state conditions onto a homosexual ghetto.”

Tensions boiled over at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, when the police staged one of their periodic raids and the patrons and people on the street resisted. Days of disturbances and demonstrations followed, and the event came to be recognized as a crucial moment in an evolving movement. As it did, various spins on what had happened and who was responsible emerged.

Read entire article at New York Times

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