Compiled by

Len Evans

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Abe Aronovitz Mayor of Miami. One rumor suggests a lesbian daughter as an explanation for his rabid homophobia.

Randall N Christmas Miami City Commissioner


Leon Enker Owner of Leon & Eddie's. A longtime New York cafe owner, he defends the bars, 1953.

E. A. Evans Miami City Manager, is threatened with firing by MayorAronovitz, unless he adopt a less tolerant attitude towards homosexuals.

Bernard J. Frank Miami Beach City Councilman. He sponsored an ordinance banning female impersonators, 1953.

Walter Headly Chief of Police, Miami. He advocates a policy of tolerating gay bars as a means of regulating homosexuals, 1953.

Charley E Johns Florida State Senator, and states leading homophobe. Headed the infamous Johns Committee that alternately investigated Communists and homosexuals.

Thomas J. Kelly Sheriff, Dade County.

Morey Payman Appointed by acting governor Charley Johns to coordinate state assistance in Miami's attempt to drive out homosexuals.

H. Lester Quigg Miami City Commissioner. Offers to hypnotise any homosexual desiring to change.

Mr. & Mrs

Harry Sanders Owners of the Moulin Rouge. They defend bars, 1953.

Romeo J Shepard Chief of Police, Miami Beach. Leads beach raid to "serve notice" on undesirables, 1953.

Daniel P. Sullivan Operating director of the Crime Commission of Greater Miami. He calls for closing gay bars in 1953.

Rose Wessel "Fighting barmaid" of the Stockade Bar. Slugs a deputy during a raid.


The Florida Chronicle


1953 In the wake of a number of highly sensationalized cases of child molestation and murder, public hysteria was directed at the homosexual community by an orchestrated campaign of Miami area newspapers, politicians and police.

Nov 21 Greater Miami Crime Commission chief claims that Dade County is "open to maniacs" and child molesters. He calls for the closing of Miami area gay bars.

Nov ? Female Impersonators are banned by the Miami Beach City Council.

Nov 21 Miami Beach - Chief of Police, Romeo Shepard, directs a sweep of the gay beach. "We had no charges we could book them on," Shepard boasted, calling it a question of "letting undesirable know they are not wanted here." Twenty-one men were taken in for questioning.

Nov 25 Miami Beach - "Sex perverts and degenerates can expect the bums rush off Miami Beach." - Chief of Police, Romeo Shepard.

Nov ? Miami - Three bars are raided, and 6 men are arrested (their names and addresses are printed in the papers), others are questioned and released.

Dec 2 At a meeting called by the Florida Cafe Owners Association, Miami Sheriff Kelly tells a half-dozen bar owners to clean up their bars. Two owners defend the bars arguing a changing morality and the greater ability of the police to supervise homosexual activity if it is tolerated. Police Chief Headly partially agrees.


Jul 12 Gay bars raided by Miami police Liquor and Narcotics squad, for five nights following the murder of a young girl, warning that the names., addresses and places of employment of all patrons would be taken. A number of patrons, bartenders, and owners were arrested for liquor law infractions. Detective Palmer warns that "the Liquor and Narcotics Squad intends to make things hot for sex perverts in Miami."

Jul 18 Miami Herald - Letter to the Editor, entitled, "Just Execute Them All."

Jul 28 Miami Herald editorial - "Treat With Them for What They Are." Attacks the Miami police policy of setting up a "Powder Puff Lane" for sex deviates and perverts, but cautions against lumping gays together with rapists and child molesters.

Aug 3 The body of William Simpson is found. He was killed by two young men C. Lawrence and Lewis Killen. Their defense is that Simpson made a pass at them. The press and public officials show more sympathy for the young murderers than they do for the victim. The murder is used to further stir up public hysteria against homosexuals.

Aug 11 Miami Herald editorial "Clean This Place Up.""This shoulder-shrugging by police is the cause of Miami's reputation as a comfortable haven for homosexuals."

Aug 12 Miami City Commissioner Randall N. Christmas said, "There should be more restrictions on the granting of liquor, beer and wine licenses to people who are known to cater to these perverts", he went on to observe that "unfortunate sons and daughters of prominent people are deviate." Was this directed at Mayor Aronovitz, perhaps.

Aug 13 Miami Beach police round up 35 men in a raid on a public beach. Most are released. Six are arrested on disorderly conduct.

Aug 13 Miami Herald - Letter to the Editor - "The Dead Cannot defend Themselves" "It seems all a murderer has to do in our city these days is to piously proclaim his victim a pervert, strike a martyr-like pose, and have all the sob-sisters weeping on his shoulder."

Aug13 Miami Daily News - "Psychiatrist Looks at Deviates: A Disease Worse than Alcoholism."

Aug15 Ordered by Sheriff Kelly to show perverts they "can't set up housekeeping in Dade County, squads made up of some 44 deputies raid 11 bars. Persons picked up were charged with vagrancy and detained over the weekend for a venereal disease check. Fifty-three were seized, and nineteen were booked. Also arrested was a "fighting barmaid"who was charged with slugging a deputy and interfering with the raid.

Aug 26 Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz threatens to remove City Manager E. A. Evans and Police Chief Headly for tolerance of homosexuals. He also calls for tougher laws to regulate bars.

Aug 27 Headly agrees to harass the gay bars, but asks that the city pass new laws to justify such harassment. Previously Headly had argued for tolerance of the bars as a way of regulating homosexuals.

Aug 28 Miami City Commissioner R. N. Christmas joins the mayor in calling for the ouster of Evans and Headly.

Aug 31 Another Miami City Commissioner and amateur hypnotist offers to help homosexuals to change their sexual orientation.

Aug 31 Evans and Headly agree to follow City Commission policy on harassing bars, even though they disagreed with the policy. Headly argued that his past policy did not coddle homosexuals, and pointed out that liquor law violation arrests had been twice what they were for straight bars.

Sep 1 "Evans sets Thursday as 'D-Day'- Drive on Deviates Will Be Launched." Since this headline appeared on Wednesday, the bar owners and patrons were at least warned, if not to subtly. "There were hints during the press conference of police corruption and demands for wholesale shake-ups." Commissioner R.N Christmas said he had "heard rumors" of payoffs by homosexuals and bar operators.

Sep 2 Miami Herald Editorial - "Soft Police Policy Towards Perverts Results Only In Evil."

Sep 6 There is no one in the bars during promised raids. Evans isn't surprised because of the widespread publicity, but promises continued surveillance of the bars, as well as driving homosexuals from the city's parks.

Sep 7 Acting -governor Charles E Johns appoints a Miami attorney to coordinate the work of city and state law enforcement agencies in driving sex perverts out of Dade County.

Sep 10 Dade County shares its list of "perverts" with neighboring counties.

Sep 16 Miami Beach City Council requires that there be a special attendant to patrol the aisles of movie theaters during kiddies matinees, with the power to arrest anyone found molesting a child.

Oct 26 Miami passes a City Ordinance making it illegal (1) to sell alcohol to a homosexual, (2) for bars to employ a homosexual, or (3) to allow two or more homosexuals to congregate on the premises.

Dec 21 As the result of recent raids, six major downtown Miami bars have changed hands, whil others had changed their character. According to Police Detective, Sgt Tom Lipe(?) the "pervert population had definitely decreased."


Nov Miami Mayor Aronovitz collapses while testifing before a Senate subcommittee. He calls for federal laws to control sex deviates.


Feb 27 A new round of raids is inaugurated in Miami after Miami News reporters raise the issue. Fifteen men are arrested.

Feb 28 Article on bar owners complete with their photos, and photos of their homes, and their addresses.

Mar 5 Miami Beach promises a crackdown.

Mar Two Miami plainclothes police try to arrest each other after a successful flirtation in Bayfront Park.

Mar A Coral Gables man receives a sentence of 3 years in prison for "unnatural act."

Apr A former Fort Meyers bartender is the first person to be sentenced to the state mental hospital under the new state Criminal Sexual Psychopath law.

Dade County Sheriff Thomas Kelly is accused in a campaign pamphlet of having preformed homosexual acts. The tactic backfires and Kelly is re-elected in a landslide.


Jan A gang of five Tampa teenagers, who had prayed on homosexuals, are sentenced. It also marks the beginning of a year long crackdown (against bars?) in Tampa.

Jun 9 The Crime Commission of Greater Miami warns of a homosexual invasion.

Jun Johns Committee investigation leads to the firing of 7 employees for "sexual deviation".

Jun Miami Beach judge orders two admitted homosexuals to leave town.

Dade County Grand Jury investigation of organized crime leads to the removal of Romeo Shepard.


Johns Committee focuses on homosexual activity at the State University at Gainesville. Sixteen staff and faculty members are eventually fired.



Apr Miami bar raid. Twenty-two men are arrested.


Johns Committee again investigates homosexuals.

Tampa crackdown. 130 arrests in 90 days.


Apr 24 Miami police report the existence of a list of 3,000 homosexuals.



Jun The Johns Committee issues its pamphlet "Homosexuality and Citizenship in Florida," is almost immediately banned from distribution as "official pornography" There are serious calls for disbanding the Committee.

Jun Johns Committee charges that 123 Florida teachers are practicing homosexuals.

Oct Miami Herald feature -- "The Life of the Homosexual:It's Sad, Not Gay."

Dec The Athenian Society lobbies for sodomy law repeal.


Jan Results of a six-month old crackdown in Dade County are evaluated.

Coral Gables Woman's Club forms a special homosexual committee (?)

Jacksonville Journal runs a multi-part series on homosexuality.

Sep Miami Judge orders the city to issue licenses to gay bars.

Johns Committee disbanded.


Jan Florida Mattechine Society organized to participate in May state legislative elections.

Feb Mattechine Society and ACLU challenge the Miami liquor ordinance.

Florida State University official protests the use of student decoys in crackdown on homosexuals.

Mar Scout Leader and teacher found guilty of child molestation. Coconut Grove called a "hotbed of homosexual activity."

Apr WTVJ- channel 4 _ Miami airs program on homosexuals in which the Mattechine's Inman appears.

Jun The Circuit Court upholds Miami's liquor ordinance barring homosexuals.


Jun South Florida State Hospital Director says that homosexuality is not itself a sufficient reason for firing hospital personnel.

Sep The vice-chancellor of Florida State University convicted of fellatio.


Jan The US Supreme Court refuses to review the Florida Appeals Court ruling upholding the Miami liquor license ordinance.

Oct A prominent Miami publicist is saved from serving a 40 year prison sentence after other prominent citizens come to his defense.

Nov Obscenity charges against Charles Inman's Athenaeum Bookstore are dropped reluctantly by Judge.



Miami News runs series on sad gay life.


Dec State Supreme Court voids the Florida Sodomy Law



This chronology is based on a newspapper clipping file preservered by the Dade County - Miami Library. Copies of the files may be obtained from the library for a small fee.