A police raid on a New Year’s Eve party in 1967 at the Black Cat in Silver Lake set off a street protest on Feb. 11 that year that many have described as California’s version of the famous Stonewall demonstrations two years later in New York City.
The Black Cat, at 3903 Sunset Blvd. at Hyperion Avenue, then was one of a dozen gay bars along a one-mile stretch of Sunset ending at Sunset Junction. It still exists, although now largely as a restaurant, and in 2008 the City of Los Angeles designated it a historic and cultural monument.
Recognition of the Black Cat’s role in LGBT history took another step today with the unveiling of a plaque on its outside wall explaining what the 1967 event was all about.
The plaque was unveiled by Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell along with Wes Joe, a member of the Friends of the Black Cat, and Alexei Romanoff, one of the organizers o the 1967 protest.
The Black Cat protest was the first time that LGBT people in the United States organized a protest against police persecution. The raid and the arrests that accompanied it inspired the first legal argument that gay people were entitled to equal protection under the law.