The Black Cat, Los Angeles
Located along Sunset Boulevard, the Black Cat Tavern was the scene of one of the first major protests against police harassment by members of the gay and lesbian community. Two years before the Stonewall riot in San Francisco, gay and lesbian patrons at the Black Cat waged one of the first public and organized protests against the police. On New Year’s Eve of 1967, police officers dressed in civilian clothing raided the Black Cat. The police, after assaulting the patrons of the bar, arrested many individuals for a variety of charges such as "lewd conduct." On February 11th, members of the gay and lesbian community of Los Angeles took the almost unprecedented step of holding a public protest of the police raid.
Backstory and Context
The tavern now operates as “The Black Cat” and celebrates its history with photos and newspaper clippings of the 1967 protests. Prior to being a restaurant and bar, the tavern was a Safeway market. In the 1960’s, the building served as a bar that also housed a laundromat. In the years after the protests of the 1960s, the bar closed and reopened many times under various owners and names. The restaurant and bar has been called the Bushwhacker, Basgo’s Disco, and Le Barcito. Following the growing awareness of the history of the bar, the establishment changed its name to the Black Cat in 2012.
Staff. "L.A.'s Black Cat, Where the Fight for Gay Rights Got Its Start." WEHOville. N.p., 04 June 2014. Web. 27 July 2017. <http://www.wehoville.com/2014/06/05/l-s-black-cat-fight-gay-rights-got-start/>.
Los Angeles Conservancy. "Los Angeles Conservancy." The Black Cat | Los Angeles Conservancy. Los Angeles Conservancy, 2015. Web. 26 July 2017. <https://www.laconservancy.org/locations/black-cat>.