Credit: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries
The site of resistance to police harassment that sparked the Flower Power Protest. The Patch, along with the Black Cat Tavern, played a pivotal role in the gay rights movement, when, August 17, 1968, it was one of the first sites where there was open resistance to the constant police harassment of gay establishments and meeting places in Southern California.
Lee Glaze operated The Patch as a gay bar. In published interviews, he described how police threatened him repeatedly in 1968, warning him that they would shut him down unless he banned dressing in drag, men dancing together and allowing more than one person in the bathroom at any given time. Glaze initially tried to comply with police demands, but this caused his business to begin to fail. Glaze decided to covertly reject the police orders, and would instead warn the patrons that under-cover police were in the bar by putting the song "GOD SAVE THE QUEEN" on the juke box. The patrons would know to comply with the police rules, until Glaze would indicate the coast was clear.
One weekend in August 1968, the bar was packed with gay men and women when vice squad officers burst in, followed by a phalanx of six LAPD officers, demanding IDs and making several arbitrary arrests. For Lee, that was several arrests too many.
Outraged, Glaze impulsively leapt on stage, grabbed the microphone and yelled "It's not against the law to be homosexual and it's not a crime to be in a gay bar!" That was the spark that changed another police raid into a political rally. Glaze called for the patrons to chant, "Fight for your rights" and "We are Americans too!" at the police. He told the crowd that he and The Patch management would underwrite the cost to bail anyone arrested out of jail and pay their attorney fees.
Glaze led the crowd to the flower shop up the street and he bought out all the flowers (excluding pansies) and gave them out to all the demonstrators before he led them on a 3:00am "flower power style" demonstration at the Harbor Division Police Station.
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries