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It originally opened in and closed in The Black Cat re-opened in and operated for another 30 years. During its second run of operation, it was a hangout for Beats and bohemians but over time began attracting more and more of a gay clientele. Because it catered to gay people, the bar became a flashpoint for the nascent homophile movement. The Black Cat was Black san francisco the center of a legal fight that was one of the earliest court cases to establish legal protections for gay people in the United States.

Despite this victory, continued pressure from law enforcement agencies eventually forced the bar's closure in The Black Cat opened inshortly after the San Francisco earthquake. In the early years, the bar was located in the basement of the Athens Hotel at 56 Mason Street in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood.

This building still stands today and is now the Bristol Hotel. When entrepreneur Charles Ridley acquired the bar inhe turned it into a showplace for vaudeville Black san francisco acts. Over the next several years, Ridley Black san francisco the Black Cat Black san francisco under increased police scrutiny as a possible center of prostitution.

Inthe bar lost its dance permit and closed down. With the repeal of Prohibitionthe Black Cat re-opened in at Montgomery Street, [3] again under Ridley's proprietorship.

William Saroyan and John Steinbeck were known to frequent the establishment, and part of Jack Kerouac 's seminal Beat novel On the Road is set in the bar.

While the Beats continued to congregate at the Black Cat Black san francisco the s, in the years following World War IImore and more gay people began patronizing it. It was totally open, bohemian, San Francisco All the gay screaming queens would come, the heterosexual gray flannel suit types, longshoremen. All the poets went there. Sarria, who began as a waiter, wore drag and entertained the crowd by singing parodies of popular torch songs.

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Eventually he performed three to four shows a night, along with a regular Sunday afternoon show, with Sarria performing Black san francisco arias.

His specialty was a re-working of Bizet's opera Carmenset in modern-day San Francisco. Sarria as Carmen would prowl through popular cruising area Union Square.

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The audience cheered "Carmen" on as she dodged the vice squad and made her escape. Sarria encouraged patrons to be as open and honest as possible, exhorting the clientele, "There's nothing wrong with being gay—the crime is getting caught," and "United we stand, divided they catch us one by one.

Sometimes he would take the crowd outside to sing the final verse to the men across the street in jail, who had been arrested in raids earlier Black san francisco the night. Sarria became the first openly gay candidate in the United States to run for public office, running in for a Black san francisco on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

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On the last day for candidates to file petitions, city officials realized that there were fewer than five candidates running for the Black san francisco open seats, which would have assured Sarria a seat. By the end of the day, 34 candidates had filed. Inthe San Francisco Police Department and the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission, in response to the Black Cat's increasing homosexual clientele, began a campaign of harassment against the bar and its patrons.

Bar owner Stoumen was charged with such crimes as "keeping a disorderly house" and the State Board of Equalization suspended the bar's liquor license indefinitely. In response and on principle, Stoumen, who was heterosexualtook the state to court. Inthe California Supreme Courtin Stoumen v. The court qualified its opinion, however, by stating that ABC might still close gay bars with "proof of the commission of illegal or immoral acts on the premises.

In response to this Black san francisco victory and based on the "illegal or immoral acts" language of the opinion, the state passed a constitutional amendment creating the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control ABC.

The California State Black san francisco in passed a law authorizing broad powers for the ABC to shut down any "resort [for] sexual perverts.

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In a test case involving an Oakland bar, Vallerga v. Homosexuals, therefore, had won the right to Black san francisco but only if they agreed not to touch. Police and city officials responded to the increasing visibility of the Black Cat and other gay bars in the city, and the Black Cat's success in court, by increasingly cracking down, staging more frequent raids and mass arrests.

Tackling unconscious bias

One favorite tactic was to arrest drag queenssince impersonating a member of the opposite sex was, at the time, a crime. Sarria responded by passing out labels for the drag queens to wear reading "I am a boy" so it could not be claimed they were impersonating women.

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Byfollowing some 15 years of unrelenting pressure from the police and the ABC, Stoumen decided he was no longer able financially Black san francisco sustain the fight.

The ABC lifted the bar's liquor license inthe night before its annual Halloween party. After a final defiant Halloween celebration at which only non-alcoholic beverages were served and an attempt to survive on food and soft drink sales, the Black Cat closed down for good in February The site is now the location of Nico's, a high-end restaurant.

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On December 15,a plaque commemorating the Black Cat and its place in San Francisco history was placed at the site. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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The exterior of the Black Cat. Legendary gay bar to be remembered".

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The Bay Area Reporter Online. Stories of Some of Our Lives Theatrical film.

Reilly37 Cal. Control53 Cal. The Advocate Drum Focus: Day Annual Reminder — Compton's Cafeteria riot The Rejected " The Homosexuals " Retrieved from " https: Coordinates on Wikidata Good articles.

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Views Read Edit View history. This page was last edited on 17 Septemberat By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Black events in San Francisco, CA Marine's Memorial Theater, San Francisco, CA BARNEVELD + various other locations, San Francisco, California.

In11% of city Black san francisco were Black.

Now that number is just 6% and is expected to drop below 4% by Black San Francisco's. Lining up plans in San Francisco?

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