WGBH Openvault

American Experience; Stonewall Uprising; Interview with Martha Shelley, 1 of 2

Part of Stonewall Uprising Interviews.


In this interview, Martha Shelley discusses growing up in the 1950's and coming out as gay, the Shelley Radio Show at Barnard College, her experience as a member of the Daughters of Bilitis, the Mattachine Society, police brutality, bar raids, and organizing the Gay Liberation Front after the Stonewall uprising.

License Clip
American Experience
Stonewall Uprising
Program Number



Interview with Martha Shelley, 1 of 2

Series Description

As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award.

Program Description

"Stonewall Uprising" explores the dramatic event that launched a worldwide rights movement. Told by those who took part, from drag queens and street hustlers to police detectives, journalists and a former mayor of New York, and featuring a rich trove of archival footage, this film revisits a time when homosexual acts were illegal throughout America, and homosexuality itself was seen as a form of mental illness. Hunted and often entrapped by undercover police in their hometowns, gays from around the U.S. began fleeing to New York in search of a sanctuary. Hounded there still by an aggressive police force, they found refuge in a Mafia-run gay bar in Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn. When police raided Stonewall on June 28, 1969, gay men and women did something they had not done before: they fought back. As the streets of New York erupted into violent protests and street demonstrations, the collective anger announced that the gay rights movement had arrived.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Davis, Kate (Producer)
Shelley, Martha (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Rights Summary

Rights Holder: WGBH Educational Foundation

Chicago: “American Experience; Stonewall Uprising; Interview with Martha Shelley, 1 of 2,” 2011, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 18, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_46A6B2B3E99C45F8B9D437A5E75AE351.
MLA: “American Experience; Stonewall Uprising; Interview with Martha Shelley, 1 of 2.” 2011. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 18, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_46A6B2B3E99C45F8B9D437A5E75AE351>.
APA: American Experience; Stonewall Uprising; Interview with Martha Shelley, 1 of 2. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_46A6B2B3E99C45F8B9D437A5E75AE351
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