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The Cooper Do-nuts Uprising - LGBT Heritage Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 17, 2013 12:08pm | Post a Comment

Cooper Do-nuts sign

Cooper Do-nuts sign (image source: Stephen Seemayer and Pamela Wilson's film, Young Turks (1982)

May 1959: Seven years before Silver Lake's Black Cat Riot and ten before New York's Stonewall riots, a group of drag queens and hustlers clashed with LAPD officers at Cooper Do-nuts (also often referred to as Cooper's Doughnuts or Cooper's Donuts) usually considered to be the first gay uprising in modern history.
 




Before nearby Broadway arose as Los Angeles's premier theater district (around the 1920s), most of the nickelodeons and theaters were along Main Street -- two blocks east. In the 1930s and '40s, Downtown declined when Jews -- shunned from the downtown protestant establishment, moved their residences, businesses and investments to Hollywood, Midtown, and the Westside. Other "not-quite-whites" moved east and to the Valley when the exclusionary definition of all important "whiteness" grew slightly broader.

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