Newspapers describe the police raid on the Pepper Hill Club, which began late on Saturday October 1, 1955. The Pepper Hill Club was known as a gay bar, and newspapers reported that the police had previously issued a warning to the bar about allowing homosexuals to congregate there. Newspapers provide details to the public about the Pepper Hill Club raid and the subsequent trial-providing evidence of LGBTQIA+ resistance in the years leading up to Stonewall that may otherwise have been lost. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the Library of Congress collection of historic newspapers, including the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
|October 1, 1955
|Police raid begins late in the evening at the Pepper Hill Club located at 200 block of North Gay Street, Baltimore, Maryland. 162 people were arrested. The International Guild Guide listed the address of the Pepper Hill Club as 213 N. Gay Street.
|October 2, 1955
|139 people appear at Baltimore Police Court on charges of disorderly conduct.
|October 7, 1955
|Morton Cohen (bar owner), Victor Lance (bar owner) and Moira Reeks (suspected employee) were charged by the grand jury of operating the Pepper Hill Club for "the purpose of lewdness and assignation and as a disorderly house.
|November 22, 1955
|Judge James K. Cullen rules that the defendants are innocent. Judge Cullen criticized the police involved in the mass arrest, stating that they should be "severely condemned."