12 Nutty Dungeons & Dragons Media Mentions From the 1980s

In the 1980s, U.S. and Canadian media were up in arms over Dungeons & Dragons and the problem of teen suicide. In the wake of various suicides and even murders linked (however tenuously) to the game, D&D started popping up everywhere in popular media, often linked by reporters to Satanism, witchcraft, and the presumed dark side of youth culture. Weirdly, this was all going on while CBS aired a Saturday morning cartoon version of D&D. The controversy came to a head when, again kind of weirdly, CBS aired a 60 Minutes segment about the issue. (I found videos of that old report -- see the end of this article to check it out.)

That D&D media coverage was, in retrospect, a form of moral panic. So I figured it'd be fun to round up some real 80s media mentions of the game, highlighting the weirdest bits. Hop into the Reference Library Time Machine with me and enjoy.

1. Becoming the Master

In the wake of a tragic murder/suicide in November of 1984, police wondered whether D&D was somehow connected to the deaths of two Colorado brothers. A report in the Omaha World-Herald read:

"We aren't sure at this point whether we have a double suicide or a suicide/homicide," [Police Chief Larry] Stallcup said.

The police chief said [Dungeons & Dragons] appeals to very intelligent people, who use their imagination to manipulate characters and work through a series of mazes to achieve treasures and avoid falling into the dungeon.

"My undertstanding [sic] is that once you reach a certain point where you are the master, your only way out is death," Stallcup said.

"That way no one can beat you."

It turns out that D&D had nothing to do with it. The elder brother was facing sentencing for auto theft, and wrote a note explaining that he couldn't live within the criminal justice system. Stallcup's comments about the game indicate that he had clearly never played it; hell, I fell into the dungeon all the time. That was the main fun part.

Source: Fantasy Game Link Considered - Brothers' Deaths May Be Suicides, Omaha World-Herald (NE) - Sunday, November 4, 1984, UPI.

2. Popping 45s vs. Fireballs

On March 19, 1984, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer Daniel R. Biddle covered Templecon, a convention devoted to various role-playing games, including Dungeons & Dragons. He wrote:

What sort of person plays these games? Consider Mark Singer, 22, a political-science junior at Temple, and Dave Appelbaum, 19, his sophomore buddy, both of whom, along with sophomore Robert Patsko, also 19, helped organize Templecon.

They were explaining in an interview yesterday that they used to do duller things - such as driving along the Atlantic City Expressway and reaching out of car windows to pop 45-r.p.m. records off the car antenna one at a time. Now they are into the [role-playing] games.

Appelbaum recalled how he'd used fireballs to help his medieval allies blow up a set of mysterious self-beating drums in a recent bout of "Dungeons and Dragons." "You can create your own world," said Singer, "where the players do what you want them to do ... for purposes of the game. You're not living inside it. Thank God."

I'd go with imaginary fireballs over broken 45s any day. For one thing, the fireballs are free.

Source: Playing Out Their Fantasies at a Convention on Games, Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) - Monday, March 19, 1984, Daniel R. Biddle.

3. Human Sacrifice, Eating Babies, Drinking Blood

In 1985, Knight-Ridder covered the attempts of the group BADD (Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons) to put warning labels on the game. Cited in the article was Dr. Thomas Radecki, who expressed views about the content of the game:

"Dungeons & Dragons is essentially a worship of violence," said Dr. Thomas Radecki of Champaign, Ill., a psychiatrist and chairman of the National Coalition on Television Violence in Washington, D.C.

"It's a very intense war game. Talk to people that have played it. It's very fascinating. It's a game of fun. But when you have fun with murder, that's dangerous. When you make a game out of war, that's harmful. The game is full of human sacrifice, eating babies, drinking blood, rape, murder of every variety, curses of insanity. It's just a very violent game."

As a former player, I wouldn't say it's full of any of those things. Maybe murder, assuming humanoid monsters are granted human rights.

Source: Parents See a Real Conflict in Fantasy War Games Group Links Dungeons & Dragons to 51 Teen-age Suicides, Miami Herald, The (FL) - October 27, 1985, Billy Bowles, Knight-Ridder News Service.

4. D&D and AC/DC

In 1985, a minor controversy erupted when local religious groups tried to prevent AC/DC from rocking Springfield, Illinois. This happened at roughly the same time as the aforementioned 60 Minutes segment on D&D and BADD. Long story short: AC/DC played the show and the totally kick-ass letter to the editor of The State Journal-Register below reflects the opinions of an AC/DC listener whose son also happened to be a D&D player.

Wouldn't fear for mortal soul

Dear Editor,

This has been an interesting week. Sunday night I tuned into the tail end of "60 Minutes" and was confronted with some lady in a big flap about the game Dungeons and Dragons. I never did get her point -- whether she wanted the game taken off the market or just wanted to publicly air her sorrow over the suicide of her son which she blames on D&D. I commiserate. Losing a teen or preteen child to suicide must be the most agonizing thing a parent can face. The rest I took with a grain of salt.

My younger son has played D&D since the third grade and it has never occurred to me to check him for suicidal tendencies. In the eight years he has been playing, I've spent close to $600 on books, modules, dice, lead figures and other accouterments of the game. I guarantee you, when I spend that kind of money I pay attention to what it's all about. I've listened to many an hour of it. I don't exactly see what they get out of it -- it seems rather boring to me -- but I've had games continue on the kitchen table for days and I fail to see the harm in it.

Two days later I hear on the radio that AC/DC cannot appear at the Prairie Capital Convention Center because the local clergy and a few concerned parents think their music promotes Satanism. Amazing! Now I suppose I'll have to keep watch on my cats and the neighbors' dog in case my sons decide to indulge in some of the more gory rites of Satanic sacrifices. After all, we have and play every AC/DC album that's been cut.

I secretly wanted to go to the concert myself but really couldn't because, first, I'd embarrass my kids to death, and, second, my eardrums can't take the decibel level they could when I was 16. But if I did decide to go I surely wouldn't do so in fear of my mortal soul -- or my sons'. If people don't want their kids to go, keep them home. Or if they don't want them playing D&D, don't buy the game. What has that to do with the rest of us? I think all this brouhaha is ridiculous.

Glenna Burns Beckner, Pleasant Plains [Illinois]

Rock on, Glenna.

Source: Letters from Readers, State Journal-Register, The (Springfield, IL) - September 26, 1985.

5. Kids Star in Library "Video Play" About D&D

On November 10, 1985, The Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania ran a brief item about a D&D-themed "video play" in the local library's children's department. Sounds like kids being creative and imaginative -- kinda like D&D itself. Also sounds like they were looking for a fancy way to describe "some stuff we shot on our new camcorder." Here's an excerpt:

Area young people will star in "Unknown Fates," a story of a "Dungeons and Dragons" game gone awry, at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Mary Meuser Memorial Library annex, Wilson.

Based on a short story by Michael Jay Wesley of Wilson, the original video play was written by Scott Rhymer of Wilson. Dan Redington and Kendra Buttner of Wilson wrote the final adaptation.

...In the play, four "Dungeons and Dragons" players are transported to the realm of an evil wizard, where their fantasy game becomes dangerously real.

"Unknown Fates" is the third video play produced by the library's children's department, with the assistance of Thomas Alercia as cameraman. Board member Marjorie Alercia helped coordinate each project.

How come these plots always have the games going awry?

Source: Wilson Play is Based on 'Dungeons' Game, Morning Call, The (Allentown, PA) - November 10, 1985.

6. Republicans vs. Satan

A 1986 article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch entitled "Game Said to Inspire Mind, Raise Satan" is a goldmine. Here's a bit from the beginning:

Recently, a number of parents and religious fundamentalists have been on the warpath against the game, which they describe as "satanical." A candidate for the Republican nomination for state attorney general last year even based his campaign on the game.

In calling for removal of Dungeons & Dragons from public schools in Virginia, Winston E. Mathews of Charles City County said in his unsuccessful campaign that the game "teaches Satan-worship, spell-casting, witchcraft, rape, suicide and assassination."

Meanwhile, more than 3 million Americans have become "D & D die-hards," according to the manufacturer of Dungeons & Dragons, a game that requires a great deal of imagination, intelligence and time.

Source: Game Said to Inspire Mind, Raise Satan, Richmond Times-Dispatch - January 18, 1986, Anna Barron Billingsley.

7. More Satan!

And here's some more from the same article...

Sharon Sipos, a Chesterfield County housewife and mother of two who has spoken out against the game on about 30 radio and television programs throughout the nation, believes D&D is not merely a game, but an "alternate lifestyle." Mrs. Sipos said she is engaged in "a spiritual battle," led by the Lord.

She is opposed not only to Dungeons & Dragons, but to all fantasy role-playing games, including a "Christian" version of D&D called Dragon Raid. She said Scripture is used as magic in that game, which she believes is associated with the occult.

Mrs. Sipos said players devote all their time and attention to the fantasy games -- even when they're not playing.

"They're always planning what they will do the next time. Kids have lost jobs, flunked out of school. They totally confuse reality and fantasy," said Mrs. Sipos. "It (the game) becomes their god."

Source: Game Said to Inspire Mind, Raise Satan, Richmond Times-Dispatch - January 18, 1986, Anna Barron Billingsley.

8. Yup, Even More Satan

Although this one is from 1990, I thought it was worth including. In a Capital Times article called "Officials Offer Warning of Trend Toward Satanism," reporter Pamela Cotant goes deep on the topic of possibly Satanic and/or gang-involved and/or goth Wisconsin youth. For example:

[Madison police officer Maureen] Wall said she sees "nocturnal" youths ranging from about age 15 to 20 roaming State Street as she works her night shift. The youths may be flashing symbols of Satan on their jackets or wearing pins through their noses or stuck in their cheeks. The outrageousness of their appearance is part of the power they seek, she said.

...The youths that Wall was tallking [sic] about are probably "dabblers," which is sort of a youth subculture, according to [Catholic priest, Reverend Stephen] Smith. Youths who dabble in Satanism tend to be experimentalists, especially with things that are unusual or exotic.

...The youths may act out their Satan worship through suicide, rituals, physical or sexual abuse, burglary of ritualistic paraphernalia, animal mutliation [sic], criminal damage to property and drug use, he said.

Their activities may involve secrecy, heavy metal music, books describing rituals, ritualistic paraphernalia and graffiti to churches. Cemeteries may be vandalized in an attempt to obtain bones for their rituals, Smith said.

Much of the paraphernalia is available through catalogs, he said.

Kathy Sorenson, director of Project HUGS, said that about three to four years ago she began to suspect that a small percentage of the students she's involved with were involved with Satan and the occult. ...

This is actually a fascinating article. Read the rest for more info on Project HUGS, LSD, a flaming pentagram, and how kids often confuse gang symbols for Satanic iconography (oops). The article also briefly ties in D&D.

Source: Officials Offer Warning of Trend Toward Satanism, Capital Times, The (Madison, WI) - February 26, 1990, Pamela Cotant.

9. Witchcraft, Chess, and Checkers

In April of 1985, one Oregon minister worried that D&D in schools represented a possible expansion in the number of local witches:

ALBANY, Ore. (AP) Talk of witchcraft usually comes with the harmless sorcery of the Halloween season, but a Willamette Valley minister is taking witchcraft very seriously because he claims it has invaded a middle school.

Rev. Jon Quigley of the Lakeview Full Gospel Fellowship says he's concerned about the game "Dungeons & Dragons," which has been part of an intramural "discovery program" at Calapooia Middle School.

Players of the game, known to devotees as "D&D," assume the roles of fantasy characters and pass through adventures to achieve some goal. There is a strong emphasis on magic.

Quigley and his wife, Alberta, say the game is an occult tool that opens up young people to influence or possession by demons.

The minister charges there are more than 600 "full-fledged, practicing witches" in the mid-Willamette Valley, and "we don't need any more."

Calapooia has offered the game periodically as one of a revolving array of hobby and leisure pursuits, including first aid, volleyball, models and rockets, art, woodcraft, chess and checkers.

...[Principal Paul] Nys said the discovery program offers "an opportunity for these kids to relax. And we think there's some value to the offerings."

Duane Hedy, assistant superintendent of the Albany Public Schools, said students have been playing D&D for years.

...The Quigleys insist the game teaches witchcraft. They claim that amounts to teaching a religion and violates the separation of church and state.

They say the game also endangers the mental and spiritual well-being of the participants.

"They eventually become oppressed, tormented, possessed through the spirits that are operating through this game," Quigley said.

Calapooia Middle School actually isn't far from me. According to their website, their electives currently include: Choir/Band, Industrial Tech, Family Studies, Art, Drama, Adv. Computers, Digital Photography, Video Game Design, and Leadership Electives. They also have a slightly witchy-looking "FLEX" period. For the record, a sarcastic letter to the editor later appeared in the Eugene Register-Guard four days after the account above, responding to Quigley's crusade. It read, in part:

I'm so thankful for the fundamentalists' campaign to expose rock musicians for what they are: agents of Satan. Just look at the examples these fiends are setting for our kids.

The latest blasphemy involved a whole bunch of them. They made a record for the people of Ethiopia, and donated all of the proceeds to famine relief. Even worse, one of the most vile demon agents in the bunch, Michael Jackson, co-wrote the song. But the frightful tale gets worse. The most evil one of all, Prince, donated the entire proceeds from one of his concerts to famine relief. Can you imagine that? These blackest of sins sicken a God-fearing person.

Sources: Minister Sees Threat of Witchcraft in School, The Seattle Times - April 7, 1985, AP; and Letters in the Editor's Mailbag, Eugene Register-Guard - April 11, 1985, J. J. Ritter.

10. Setting a World Record

In 1986, a group of Pennsylvania State University students sought a world record for the longest game of AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, for the uninitiated). Behold:

Jess Johnson, executive council president of the Historical Simulations Club at Penn State, said yesterday that the students played for 63 hours and 21 minutes, which beats the Guinness record of 61:39.

...The primary purpose of the marathon, which drew $800 to $1,000 in pledges, was to benefit Third World Starvation Relief and Four Diamonds Cancer Research, he said.

...He said one participant "dropped out Tuesday morning due to hallucinations; then we lost another Tuesday afternoon due to physical exhaustion, which claimed two more participants that same evening."

Two of the game rules required the players to remain seated around the table throughout the marathon. They were granted a five minute break every 60 minutes.

D&D for charity, folks.

Source: PSU Players Claim Record at 'Dungeons', Morning Call, The (Allentown, PA) - March 7, 1986.

11. The Killer Board Game in Your Closet

In a 1986 opinion piece, University of Illinois student D. B. Killings went on a brilliant satirical rampage, suggesting that the furor over D&D would be better aimed at the evil capitalist game of Monopoly:

...Groups such as the Moral Majority and Bothered About D&D are concerned by what they consider to be the "brainwashing of the young." They argue that the game has a "satanic and detrimental" effect on children. They point to the many documented cases of violent acts and suicides among teenagers, and the fact that in many of these cases the people had been fanatical devotees of the game.

There must be a link, they say, between the violent nature of the game and the steadily increasing violent behavior of some of its players. To combat this, these well-meaning individuals want the game restricted or even outright banned.

What these groups fail to realize is the danger in their own homes. For there exists yet another popular game that may also provide negative influences on the young.

Indeed, this game has existed long enough that it may very well be already affecting not only our children but the very world in which we live. I am speaking, of course, of Monopoly.

... First of all, it contradicts many teachings of the Bible. ...

Seriously, read the whole thing.

Source: Game opponents should target Monopoly, Chicago Sun-Times - January 7, 1986, D. B. Killings.

12. The Devil's Toys

In 1984, the Miami Herald profiled Praise Unlimited Inc., a Florida-based maker of Christian toys explicitly designed to replace D&D and even Star Wars toys.

Cute, cuddly dolls with names like Joy and Faith and an action toy called Judah the Christian Soldier could some day replace "the devil's toys," say two North Carolina women.

"We feel that this is a ministry," Dana McNeal said, displaying toys she believes answer the biblical call in Proverbs 22:6 to "Train up a child in the way he should go."

McNeal and Linda Campbell market dolls, games and other items in North Carolina for Praise Unlimited Inc., a Sarasota, Fla., company specializing in "Christian toys." Campbell and McNeal describe themselves not as distributors, but as "toy missionaries."

...McNeal dismissed with a wave of her hand dolls such as Darth Vader from the film Star Wars and the shadowy men and monsters from Dungeons and Dragons.

"We call them the devil's toys," she said.

McNeal said she hopes parents will give their children alternatives -- perhaps a 116-piece Noah's Ark or an action toy named Judah the Christian Soldier.

Source: Women Put Christian Message in Toys, Miami Herald, The (FL) - December 25, 1984, United Press International.

That 60 Minutes Story

These videos may not stay up for long -- my last story about this piece became a lot less interesting when the YouTube videos were pulled.

Top image courtesy of Andrew Logan Montgomery. This post originally appeared in 2012.

13 Father's Day Gifts for Geeky Dads

Amazon/Otterbox/Toynk
Amazon/Otterbox/Toynk

When in doubt, you play the hits. Watches, flasks, and ties are all tried-and-true Father’s Day gifts—useful items bought en masse every June as the paternal holiday draws near. Here’s a list of goodies that put a geeky spin on those can’t-fail gifts. We’re talking Zelda flasks, wizard-shaped party mugs, and a timepiece inspired by BBC’s greatest sci-fi series, Doctor Who. Light the “dad” signal ‘cause it’s about to get nerdy!

1. Lord of the Rings Geeki Tikis (Set of Three); $76

'Lord of The Rings' themed tiki cups.
Toynk

If your dad’s equally crazy about outdoor shindigs and Tolkien’s Middle-earth, help him throw his own Lothlórien luau with these Tiki-style ceramic mugs shaped like icons from the Lord of the Rings saga. Gollum and Frodo’s drinkware doppelgängers each hold 14 ounces of liquid, while Gandalf the Grey’s holds 18—but a wizard never brags, right? Star Wars editions are also available.

Buy it: Toynk

2. Space Invaders Cufflinks; $9

'Space Invaders' cufflinks on Amazon
Fifty 50/Amazon

Arcade games come and arcade games go, but Space Invaders has withstood the test of time. Now Pops can bring those pixelated aliens to the boardroom—and look darn stylish doing it.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Legend of Zelda Flask; $18

A 'Legend of Zelda' flask
Toynk

Saving princesses is thirsty work. Shaped like an NES cartridge, this Zelda-themed flask boasts an 8-ounce holding capacity and comes with a reusable straw. Plus, it makes a fun little display item for gamer dads with man caves.

Buy it: Toynk

4. AT-AT Family Vacation Bag Tag; $12

An At-At baggage tag
ShopDisney

Widely considered one of the greatest movie sequels ever made, The Empire Strikes Back throws a powerful new threat at Luke Skywalker and the Rebellion: the AT-AT a.k.a. Imperial Walkers. Now your dad can mark his luggage with a personalized tag bearing the war machine’s likeness.

Buy it: ShopDisney

5. Flash Skinny Tie; $17

A skinny Flash-themed tie
Uyoung/Amazon

We’ll let you know if the Justice League starts selling new memberships, but here’s the next best thing. Available in a rainbow of super-heroic colors, this skinny necktie bears the Flash’s lightning bolt logo. Race on over to Amazon and pick one up today.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Captain America Shield Apron; $20

A Captain America themed apron
Toynk

Why let DC fans have all the fun? Daddy-o can channel his inner Steve Rogers when he flips burgers at your family’s Fourth of July BBQ. Measuring 31.5 inches long by 27.5 inches wide, this apron’s guaranteed to keep the cookout Hydra-free.

Buy it: Toynk

7. Doctor Who Vortex Manipulator LCD Leather Wristwatch; $35

A Doctor Who-themed watch
Toynk

At once classy and geeky, this digital timepiece lovingly recreates one of Doctor Who’s signature props. Unlike some of the gadgets worn on the long-running sci-fi series, it won’t require any fancy chronoplasm fuel.

Buy it: Toynk

8. Wonder Woman 3-Piece Grill Set; $21

Wonder Woman three-piece gill set
Toynk

At one point in her decades-long comic book career, this Amazon Princess found herself working at a fast food restaurant called Taco Whiz. Now grill cooks can pay tribute to the heroine with these high-quality, stainless steel utensils. The set’s comprised of wide-tipped tongs, a BBQ fork, and a spatula, with the latter boasting Wonder Woman’s insignia.

Buy it: Toynk

9. Harry Potter Toon Tumbler; $10

Glassware that's Harry Potter themed
Entertainment Earth

You can never have too many pint glasses—and this Father’s Day, dad can knock one back for the boy who lived. This piece of Potter glassware from PopFun has whimsy to spare. Now who’s up for some butterbeer?

Buy it: EntertainmentEarth

10. House Stark Men’s Wallet; $16

A Game of Thrones themed watch
Toynk

Winter’s no longer coming, but the Stark family's propensity for bold fashion choices can never die. Manufactured with both inside and outside pockets, this direwolf-inspired wallet is the perfect place to store your cards, cash, and ID.

Buy it: Toynk

11. Mr. Incredible “Incredible Dad” Mug, $15

An Incredibles themed mug
ShopDisney

Cue the brass music. Grabbing some coffee with a Pixar superhero sounds like an awesome—or dare we say, incredible?—way for your dad to start his day. Mom can join in the fun, too: Disney also sells a Mrs. Incredible version of the mug.

Buy it: ShopDisney

12. Star Wars phone cases from Otterbox; $46-$56

Star Wars phone cases from OtterBox.
Otterbox

If your dad’s looking for a phone case to show off his love of all things Star Wars, head to Otterbox. Whether he’s into the Dark Side with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, the droids, Chewbacca, or Boba Fett, you’ll be able to find a phone case to fit his preference. The designs are available for both Samsung and Apple products, and you can check them all out here.

Buy it: Otterbox

13. 3D Puzzles; $50

3D Harry Potter puzzle from Amazon.
Wrebbit 3D

Help dad recreate some of his favorite fictional locations with these 3D puzzles from Wrebbit 3D. The real standouts are the 850-piece model of Hogwarts's Great Hall and the 910-piece version of Winterfell from Game of Thrones. If dad's tastes are more in line with public broadcasting, you could also pick him up an 890-piece Downton Abbey puzzle to bring a little upper-crust elegance to the homestead.

Buy it: Hogwarts (Amazon), Winterfell (Amazon), Downton Abbey (Amazon)

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

8 Facts About the Stonewall Riots

Monica Schipper, Getty Images for Airbnb
Monica Schipper, Getty Images for Airbnb

A pivotal moment in civil rights took place the week of June 28, 1969. That day, police raided a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn in New York City's Greenwich Village. The move was a clear condemnation by law enforcement officials of the city's gay population. The volatile riots that followed sparked a new sense of urgency about demanding tolerance for persecuted communities.

1. The Stonewall Inn was operated by an organized crime organization.

In the 1960s, homosexuality was under fire from all directions. Because it was perceived as being amoral, individuals caught engaging in so-called "lewd behavior" were arrested and their names and home addresses were published in their local newspapers. Homosexual activity was considered illegal in most states.

As a result, being part of the LGBTQ community in New York was never without its share of harassment. Several laws were on the books that prohibited same-sex public displays of affection; a criminal statute banned people from wearing less than three “gender appropriate” articles of clothing. Commiserating at gay-friendly bars was also problematic, because officials often withheld liquor licenses from such establishments.

This kind of persecution led to members of the mafia purchasing and operating gay-friendly clubs. It was not an altruistic endeavor: The mob believed that catering to an underserved clientele by bribing city officials would be profitable, and it was. The Genovese crime family owned the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, which became known for welcoming drag queens and giving homeless teenagers and young adults a place to gather. Often, these places got tipped off before a raid took place so they could hide any liquor. But the June 28 raid at the Stonewall Inn was different: No one was tipped off.

2. Police had to lock themselves inside the Stonewall Inn to barricade themselves from the crowd.

During the June 28 raid, police (who were alleged to have targeted Stonewall for its lack of a liquor license and the owners' possible blackmail attempts on gay attendees) confiscated alcohol and arrested 13 people in total, some for violating the statute on inappropriate gender apparel. After some patrons and local residents witnessed an officer striking a prisoner on the head, they began lashing out with anything within arm’s reach—including bottles, stones, and loose change. A number of people even pulled a parking meter from the ground and tried to use it as a battering ram.

The police, fearing for their safety, locked themselves inside the Stonewall Inn as the angry mob outside grew into the thousands. Some were attempting to set the property on fire. Reinforcements were eventually able to get the crowd under control—for one night, at least.

3. The situation got worse on the second night of the Stonewall riots.

After getting the crowd to disperse, police likely thought the worst of their problems was over. But on the second night, the Stonewall Inn reopened and another mob formed to meet the police response. Both sides were more aggressive on the second night of the Stonewall Uprising, with residents and customers forming a mob of protestors and police using violent force to try and subdue them.

“There was more anger and more fight the second night,” eyewitness and participant Danny Garvin told PBS’s American Experience. “There was no going back now, there was no going back … we had discovered a power that we weren’t even aware that we had.”

4. Protestors set their sights on The Village Voice.

Tempers flared again days later when The Village Voice published two articles using homophobic slurs to describe the scene at the Stonewall Inn. Angry about the demeaning coverage, protestors once again took to the streets, with some descending on the offices of the Voice, which were located just down the street from the Stonewall.

5. Not all of the protests were violent.

During the demonstrations—which some observers later referred to as an “uprising”—some protestors opted for a nonviolent approach in order to be heard. Eyewitnesses reported residents forming Rockettes-style kick lines that performed in front of stern-faced policemen. Others sang or participated in chants like “Liberate the bar!”

6. The Stonewall Riots led to New York’s first gay rights march.

Once the riots had subsided, protestors were filled with motivation to organize for their rights. A year after the riots, residents began marching on Christopher Street and Sixth Avenue. The date, June 28, was dubbed Christopher Street Liberation Day. Thousands of people marched the streets while thousands of other people lined up alongside them to protest the treatment of the LGBTQ community at the hands of law enforcement officials and society at large.

Some members of a New York Police Department who had confronted protestors during the Stonewall Riots one year before were now being ordered to protect those same protestors during the walk. Other marches took place in other cities, marking the country's first widespread demonstration for gay rights.

7. The Stonewall Inn is now a national monument.

Since the events of 1969, the Stonewall Inn has been considered an important and historic venue for the new era of gay rights. On June 24, 2016, President Barack Obama made that official when he designated the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding area a National Historic Landmark under the care of the National Park Service. Many credit the Stonewall Uprising with the subsequent surge in gay rights groups. One participant, Marsha P. Johnson, started Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) the following year, an organization devoted to helping homeless LGBTQ youth.

8. The Stonewall Inn is still standing.

Following the riots, the Stonewall’s patrons were still faced with police harassment and were growing uncomfortable with the mob affiliation. Months after the event, the Stonewall became a juice bar before subsequent owners tried operating it as a bagel shop, a Chinese restaurant, and a shoe store in the 1970s and 1980s. New owners renovated the building in 2007.

Today, the Stonewall is once again operating as a bar and club at 53 Christopher Street in Manhattan. Naturally, everyone is welcome.

Note: An earlier version of this article misidentified Marsha P. Johnson's organization as Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries. The correct name is Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries.