Black History Month 2022

riots

New York Race Riot of 1863



Manhattan, New York - Whites began the riot because of the draft, for the American Slavery War. It ended as a full-blown race riot, when whites murdered dozens of black people. 119 was the official death toll. Some claim the count was almost one thousand (1,000) dead.

New York had many pro-slavery supporters in the city, at the time. Most white workers in New York sided with Southern slave traders, owners, and politics. Many were Irish immigrants. Much of the violence was due to white hatred of competition from black workers.

Of the many deaths, whites lynched ten (10) black people. Among them was a 7 year-old, black boy. The whites went after inter-racial couples and abolitionists. The white mob burned a black orphanage. The most violent were the longshoremen (dock workers).

It was the worst riot, of any kind, in American history. No one was charged or prosecuted for any violence committed against the black victims.

Source:

New York Race Riot of 1863

Memphis Massacre



Memphis, Tennessee - It was one of the worst race riots in Memphis history (began Tuesday and ended Thursday). Whites killed black people for 3 days.

The massacre began after white police shot at black Army veterans, from the Union Army. There were prior complaints of police brutality. Yet, none had been resolved.

After the shooting incident, white mobs raced into the black areas of Memphis. Thus began a days long rampage of whites who murdered, burned, and raped in the black community.

More than 46 black people were murdered. Two (2) whites died. No whites died because of black people. 75 black people were injured. Over 100 black people were robbed. 5 black women were raped.

Whites destroyed 91 homes, four (4) churches and eight (8) schools. White mobs destroyed every black church and school in Memphis. By Thursday, May 3rd, Federal troops had restored order.

By 1870, the black population of Memphis had fallen by 25%, compared to 1865. No one was charged or held accountable. No black person was compensated for their loss.

The Federal government refused prosecution. They claimed it was a state matter. The State of Tennessee and local officials refused to investigate or charge anyone for the mayhem.

New Orleans Massacre of 1866



New Orleans, Louisiana - On Monday, local police and other whites killed 34-50 black people and injured another 150. The race riot happened in one day.

By 1864, the American Slavery War ended for Louisiana. On May 27th, 1864, Louisiana created a new constitution. It promised black soldiers, black land owners, and literate black people the right to vote.

On April 11th, 1865, Lincoln promised all black people the right to vote. Lincoln's killer, John Wilkes Booth, was at the speech. Booth killed Lincoln 4 days later.

Black codes followed Lincoln's death. These limited the rights of black people in Louisiana and other Southern states. This increased hostility toward black people in Louisiana.

May 1st to 3rd, whites massacred black people in Memphis, sparked by white police violence. This was fresh in the mind in New Orleans, as a constitutional convention was held July 27th.

Ex-Confederate soldiers, led by New Orleans Sheriff Harry T. Hays, disrupted the convention. It was moved to July 30th.

At 12:00 p.m. (noon), July 30th, the convention was held. A crowd of white opponents waited outside. 200 freedmen (mostly veterans) paraded to the convention in support.

The freedmen neared the convention. The opposition bothered the freedmen more the closer they got to the convention. Sheriff Hays arrived and began to fire blindly into the crowd. Many black people died. Others ran into the Mechanics Institute.

General Absalom Baird wired the Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton.

Baird said the following 'It was no riot. It was an absolute massacre by the police, which was not excelled in murderous cruelty by that of Fort Pillow. It was a murder which the Mayor and police of the city perpetrated without the shadow of a necessity.'

This massacre and the one in Memphis, May 1st-3rd, led to Reconstruction policies of the former Confederate South.

Wilmington Massacre of 1898



Wilmington, North Carolina - Thousands of white males murdered and overthrew the elected, black government of Wilmington.

Atlanta Race Massacre



Atlanta, Georgia - White mobs with white police attacked black people for 3 days. Whites feared competition from black people, who came to the city to work. White fears were inflamed by the recent print of the Clansman, the previous year.

Black people were pulled from streetcars. They were beaten, stabbed, and punched. Whites rode through black areas and randomly shot into buildings. At least 24 black people died. Only two whites died and one was from a heart attack. The other was from another white.

The news of the violence spread across the ocean. In France, it was reported that whites lynched black people. The London Telegraph read that whites started anti-black riots.

No whites were punished for their violence against black people. It took years to recover from the damage to black businesses, homes, and lost property, caused by the white mobs.

Source:

Opinion 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre

Opinion 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre

Why did the 1906 Atlanta Massacre happen?

Police violence and the 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre

Springfield Race Riot of 1908



Springfield, Illinois - Thousands of local and immigrant whites attacked and killed black Americans. The violence lasted 2 days and was only stopped with the state militia.

Two black men were accused of attempted rape of two white women. Word spread and a mob formed to lynch the black men. When the white mob learned the men had been transferred out of the city, the violence began. Whites killed random black people, burned homes, destroyed businesses and private property. The white mob attacked any who sympathized with black people.

This event helped start a movement for civil rights groups in the United States.

Newberry Lynchings



Newberry, Florida - Whites killed six black people. Four (4) were black men. Two (2) were black women, with one pregnant. They were all lynched. The men were Andrew McHenry, Bert Dennis, and John Haskins. The women were Mary Dennis (pregnant) and Stella Young.

It all began because white men accused a black man of stealing hogs. None of the lynched were the man accused.

None of the whites were punished for the killings.

Source:

Newberry Lynching Marker

Florida Lynchings

East St. Louis Race Massacre



East St. Louis, Illinois - Hundreds of whites killed dozens of black people and burned down their homes. Many of those who survived left and never returned.

Source:

1917 East St. Louis Massacre

1919 Chicago Race Massacre Began



Chicago, Illinois - A white male stoned a black child, who was on a raft. The boy drowned at 13 years of age. It started a week of racial violence that left many black people dead.

Source:

The 1919 Chicago Race Riots

Elaine Arkansas Massacre



Elaine, Arkansas - 500-1000 white males murdered dozens of black people. It all started because black farmers wanted to work together for a better life.

On September 30, 1919, sharecroppers met to create a union. They met at a church to get better prices for their crops. To keep white plantation owners from the meeting, armed black guards waited outside. In Elaine, there were 10 black people to every 1 white.

It is unclear what began the trouble at the church. There was gunfire and a white security guard was dead. The guard worked for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad. A white deputy sheriff was injured.

On October 1st, the Phillips County Sheriff formed a posse. He told Governor Brough there was an insurrection in Elaine. The Governor sent word to the Secretary of War. Soldiers were on their way to Elaine.

As troops made their way to Elaine, hundreds of whites came to the town. They were from other counties and the next State. Whites killed black people with no restraint. Hundreds more black people were injured.

On October 2nd, 500 soldiers arrived in the morning and the massacre ended.

Source:

Elaine Arkansas Massacre

Tulsa Race Riot Began



Tulsa, Oklahoma - Two days of murder, riots, and chaos began in Tulsa. At the time, only 49 were counted as dead. 36 were black and 13 were white. Actual deaths range from 75-300. It all began because of a rumor.

Monday, May 30, 1921, two teenagers worked at a store in the Drexel building. Dick Rowland was a 19 year-old, black male. He worked on boots. Sarah Page was a 17 year-old, white female. She was an elevator operator.

The two were touching each other in the elevator. A white man saw the two. Page screamed.

On May 31, 1921, Rowland was arrested at his home. He was charged with attempted rape. By 7:34 p.m., rumors had spread through the white community. It was started by white lawyers and newspapers. This included the Tulsa Tribune.

As rumors spread, hundreds of whites came to the courthouse. They were there to lynch (murder) Rowland. The white sheriff Willard M. McCullough was in charge of the case.

McCullough blocked the courthouse doors. He was inside with twenty-five (25) other police. They were on the top floor of the courthouse.

By 9:00 p.m., about 100 black people came to the courthouse. They were armed. Many were former World War 1 veterans. Some were dressed in military uniform. McCullough told them all was under control.

By 10:00 p.m., the armed black men returned. By this time, there were thousands of whites at the courthouse. Unarmed whites looted nearby gun stores, pawn shops, and sporting goods stores. The whites stole guns and ammunition.

The white mob shouted 'bring the rope.' Racial slurs were hurled at the black men. The whites wanted to murder all the black men at the courthouse. The race riot was under way.

After many deaths, Rowland was never tried for a crime. He was not harmed in the riot.

First Aerial Bombing



Tulsa, Oklahoma - Whites made airstrikes against black people. This was the second day of The Tulsa Race Riots.

Early Wednesday morning, whites flew airplanes over the Greenwood District of Tulsa. From the air, whites shot rifles and made aerial bombing runs against black people.

The bombs landed on buildings and homes. The bombers aimed at fleeing families. The aircraft was privately owned. Police participated. The police claimed it was to prevent a 'Negro uprising' in the town.

One witness made this report. There were 'a dozen or more' planes. They circled the neighborhood. The planes dropped 'burning turpentine balls' on an office building, a hotel, a filling station and other buildings. Men fired at black people. They were gunned down in the street.

This was the first aerial bombing in the United States.

Rosewoood Massacre



Rosewood, Florida - The black community of Rosewood was destroyed in one (1) week. A large white mob, from nearby towns, descended on Rosewood. Whites massacred the black people of the town and razed it.

The massacre started from a rumor. Word spread that a white woman was attacked by a black drifter, in nearby Sumner, Florida. As more white towns heard the rumor, a white mob formed.

On January 1st, the mayhem began. It ended January 7th. That is when the white mob burnt the last of Rosewood to the ground.

1943 Detroit Race Riot



Detroit, Michigan - Fights between white and black youths exploded into a multi-day riot, that lasted 2 days.

1964 Harlem Riot



Harlem, New York - The Harlem riot lasted 6 days and spread to Brooklyn. It began after a white New York police worker killed a black teenager.

1964 Philadelphia Race Riot



Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 3 days of burning, violence, and disorder started with a traffic dispute. Two died in the violence. There were hundreds of injuries, arrests, and stores damaged.

At 9:35 p.m., Friday, police workers Robert Wells (black) and John Hoff (white) went to a domestic dispute. It began at the corner of 22nd Street and Columbia Avenue.

Odessa Bradford stopped the car as she argued with Rush, her husband. She refused to move out of the intersection. The cops tried to grab her from the car. A large crowd gathered.

A man tried to help Odessa. Both were arrested. The crowd threw bricks and other debris at the police. Rumor spread that a white cop had beaten and killed a pregnant, black woman. This fed the disorder.

The minor incident turned into total chaos. North Philadelphia was in turmoil for days.

In response, SWAT (Special Weapons Assault Teams) was formed. These police assault teams became Special Response Teams (SRT), in many cities.

Watts Riots Began



Los Angeles, California - The longest, costliest, and most destructive civil disorder of 1965, began in Los Angeles. It lasted five (5) days, until August 16th. It all began from a police stop.

Hough Riots



Cleveland, Ohio - The Seventy-Niner's Café was the location of the most violent race riot in Cleveland history.

1967 Newark Riot Began



Newark, New Jersey - Black bystanders began civil unrest after two white (Italian) Newark police workers arrested a black man. Up to that point, it was the most violent civil disturbance of 1967.

1967 Detroit Riot



Detroit, Michigan - 43 people died in the worst civil unrest of 1967. The Detroit police killed 14. Michigan National Guardsman killed nine (9).

Sunday, July 23rd, 3:45 a.m., Detroit Police workers raided an after-hours club (or blind pig). The raid was at 9125 12th Street, in the office of the the United Community League for Civic Action. It was above the Economy Printing Company.

Inside, 82 people celebrated the return of two (2) from the Vietnam War. The police expected a few people inside, before the raid.

Once the police left, scavenging began. Later, the police returned. At 7 a.m., some were arrested. The crowds grew. It was mixed, black and white.

By mid-afternoon, the fires started. The unrest spread across the city. Mayor Jerome Cavanagh said it was 'critical' but not 'out of control.'

At 7:45 p.m., Cavanagh began a curfew. Alcohol and firearms sales were stopped. 80% of the arrests were black people.

July 24th, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent the Army, to Detroit. Johnson used the Insurrection Act of 1807. The Act was meant for enslaved black people.

July 25th, 8,000 Michigan National Guardsmen entered Detroit. They were almost all white. 4,700 paratroopers joined them. They came from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.

July 26th, the Guardsmen killed nine (9) people. None were killed by the Army.

July 27th, ammunition was taken from the Guardsmen. The unrest declined. By July 28th, the chaos ended.

Kerner Commission Formed



Washington, D. C. - The Kerner Commission was formed. President Lyndon Baines Johnson issued Executive Order 11365. Johnson wanted to know what made black people riot and how to prevent it.

The commission was created during the Detroit uprising. Johnson chose 11 whites and two (2) black people. Three (3) questions were to be answered.

'What happened? Why did it happen? What can be done to prevent it from happening again and again?'

On February 29, 1968, the Kerner Report was completed. The Report stated, 'Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.'

Kerner Report Published



Washington, D. C. - The President’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders wrote the Kerner Report.

On July 28, 1967, the Detroit uprising caused President Lyndon Baines Johnson to form the commission. It was led by Governor Otto Kerner, of Ohio. The report took his name.

The report gave a cause for the black uprisings in the country. There were more than 150 riots or major disorders between 1965 and 1968. 83 people killed and 1,800 injured, and most were black. $100 million in property was damaged or destroyed.

The 426-page report named “white racism” for the violence, not a conspiracy by black political groups.

'Do the Right Thing' First Screening



Cannes, France - The movie 'Do The Right Thing' premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The movie showed the reasons race riots began in the United States, in the 1960s.

Do the Right Thing Los Angeles Premiere

Crown Heights Riots



Brooklyn, New York - Riots lasted 3 days after Yosef Lifsh killed Gavin Cato and severely injured his sister, Angela. Lifsh was 22 years of age at the time. He was a Jewish driver that hit a building, in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn.

After Lifsh crashed, it caused a pillar to fall on two children, Cato and Angela. When help came, Lifsh was helped first. The children were still trapped until the pillar.

By the end of the rioting, dozens were injured. All 129 arrests were of black people, except for seven (7) whites. There was one (1) million dollars in property damage.

Lifsh was never prosecuted. He was never jailed. He paid nothing to the families of Gavin or Angela, for their loss.

Rodney King Riots Began



Los Angeles, California - The Rodney King Uprisings (L. A. riots) began.

At 1 p.m. (PST), Monday, April 29th, Judge Stanley Weisberg announced the not guilty verdict, in the Rodney King case. Four white male police workers, of the Los Angeles Police Department had brutally beaten, Rodney King. The jury allowed them to escape punishment for beating an unarmed black man.

The verdict, by the all-white jury, outraged the black Los Angeles community. Many in Los Angeles felt the white police workers should have been tried in the city. But, they were allowed a trial in the white-friendly area of Simi Valley. Almost no black people lived there.

By 4. p.m., civil disturbances erupted in parts of Los Angeles. By 5 p.m., the disturbances exploded into what became known as the Rodney King Uprisings (L. A. riots).

This period of civil unrest lasted until May 4th, with 63 people killed.

Rodney King Riots Ended



Los Angeles, California - The Rodney King Uprisings (L. A. riots) lasted until Saturday, May 4th.

Arrests During Riots

2001 Cincinnati Riots



Cincinnati, Ohio - The killing of Timothy Thomas by a white Cincinnati police worker, Stephen Roach, led to 3 days of rioting.

2015 Baltimore Protests



Baltimore, Maryland - A local protest began Saturday, April 18th, over the Sunday, April 12th arrest of 25 year-old Freddie Gray, for possession of a knife. The protests began outside the Western district police station, in Baltimore.

The following day, Freddie Gray was killed, while in police custody, on Sunday, April 19th. It was the day after the protests began. For the next 2 weeks, the protests intensified and became violent. Eventually, the Maryland National Guard would take the streets of Baltimore.

There were hundreds of injuries, arrests, fires, and some businesses were looted. The city of Baltimore imposed a curfew and some parts of Baltimore were effectively shutdown during this period.

6 employees of the Baltimore Police Department were arrested. 3 were tried and found not guilty. Charges were dropped against the other 3.

No one was held criminally responsible for the murder of Freddie Gray, while in the custody of the police of the City of Baltimore.

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