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Race Riots

Brownsville Affray, 1906

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Image Ownership: Public Domain
In July 1906, the U.S. Army stationed three companies of the all-black Twenty-Fifth Infantry at Fort Brown, Texas, adjacent to Brownsville.  In recent years, southern Texas and the border region had seen periodic disturbances between American soldiers and local Chicanos who resented the military's presence.  Soon after their arrival, black soldiers began complaining of police harassment and civilian discrimination.

On the night of August 13, a group of unidentified men fired more than a hundred shots into private homes and businesses near the fort, killing a young bartender.  A well-organized citizens' group accused the black infantrymen, prompting a U.S. Inspector General's investigation directed by Major Augustus Penrose.  Penrose later concluded that a handful of soldiers had knowledge of the shooting, but the shooters' identities could not be discovered because the black troops refused to answer investigators' questions.  On November 6, claiming a "conspiracy of silence" to protect their guilty comrades, President Theodore Roosevelt announced the dishonorable discharges of 167 men in Companies B, C, and D.  To avoid further trouble with border residents, Fort Brown and neighboring Ringgold Barracks were closed in October.
Sources: 
James N. Leiker, Racial Borders: Black Soldiers along the Rio Grande (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2002).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Johnson County Community College, Kansas

Watts Rebellion (August 1965)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History in the West
103rd Street, Watts Riot, 1966
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Following World War II, over 500,000 African Americans migrated to West Coast cities in hopes of escaping racism and discrimination. However they found both in the west. For many black Los Angeles California residents who lived in Watts, their isolation in that community was evidence that racial equality remained a distant goal as they experienced housing, education, employment, and political discrimination. These racial injustices caused Watts’ African American population to explode on August 11, 1965 in what would become the Watts Rebellion.

Sources: 
Gerald Horne. Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995); Josh, Sides. L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003; Governor’s Commission on the Los Angeles Riots.  Violence in the City—an End or a Beginning? (Los Angeles: Governor’s Commission on the Los Angeles Riots, 1965).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Wilmington Race Riot of 1898

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Collier's Weekly Photograph of Mob Outside Wilmington, N.C. Courthouse,
Nov. 12, 1898.  Image Ownership: Public Domain
A politically motivated attack by whites against the city’s leading African American citizens, the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 documents the lengths to which Southern White Democrats went to regain political domination of the South after Reconstruction.  The violence began on Thursday, November 10th in the predominantly African American city of Wilmington, North Carolina, at that time the state’s largest metropolis.  Statewide election returns had recently signaled a shift in power with Democrats taking over the North Carolina State Legislature.  The city of Wilmington, however, remained in Republican hands primarily because of its solid base of African American voters.  On November 10th, Alfred Moore Waddell, a former Confederate officer and a white supremacist, led a group of townsmen to force the ouster of Wilmington’s city officials.
Sources: 
David S. Cecelski, Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1998); “Early African American Perspectives on the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898,” Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library Archives; http://docsouth.unc.edu/highlights/riot1898.html ; “Alex Manly: Wilmington Race Riots” in the Encyclopedia of the State Library of North Carolina, http://statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us/nc/bio/afro/riot.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Johnson C. Smith University

East St. Louis Race Riot: July 2, 1917

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Mob Stopping Street Car, East St. Louis Riot, July 2, 1917
Image Ownership: Public Domain
The city of East St. Louis, Illinois was the scene of one of the bloodiest race riots in the 20th century.  Racial tensions began to increase in February, 1917 when 470 African American workers were hired to replace white workers who had gone on strike against the Aluminum Ore Company.

The violence started on May 28th, 1917, shortly after a city council meeting was called.  Angry white workers lodged formal complaints against black migrations to the Mayor of East St. Louis.  After the meeting had ended, news of an attempted robbery of a white man by an armed black man began to circulate through the city.  As a result of this news, white mobs formed and rampaged through downtown, beating all African Americans who were found.  The mobs also stopped trolleys and streetcars, pulling black passengers out and beating them on the streets and sidewalks.  Illinois Governor Frank O. Lowden eventually called in the National Guard to quell the violence, and the mobs slowly dispersed.  The May 28th disturbances were only a prelude to the violence that erupted on July 2, 1917.
Sources: 
Allen D. Grimshaw, “Actions of Police and the Military in American Race Riots,” Phylon 24:3 (3rd Qtr, 1963); Robert A. Hill, ed., The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Vol. I, (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1983); Elliot M. Rudwick, Race Riot at East St. Louis: July 2, 1917 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1964).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Rodney King Riot, Los Angeles (1992)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Building on Fire, Rodney King Riot
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Rodney King Riot of 1992 occurred in response to a highly publicized incident of police brutality.  Rodney King, who had worked as a Dodgers Stadium usher, was arrested on charges of speeding, driving while intoxicated, and failing to yield.  The four responding police officers claimed that King had been high on drugs and was trying to attack them, prompting the police to beat him on the grounds of self defense.  An amateur photographer, George Holliday, was standing nearby and captured the attack on film.  The four officers were brought to court and tried on charges of assault.

During the trial, the officers argued that Rodney King’s body was always in the position to inflict harm on others.  The use of force was termed as “necessary” when police thought King was reaching for a weapon in his waistband.

At 3:00 p.m. on the day of April 29, 1992, the four police officers were acquitted of the assault charges.  The riot started soon after the announcement.  Around 4:15 p.m, a little over an hour after the acquittal was delivered, there were reports of looting in South Central Los Angeles.  By 5:45 p.m. there were numerous reports of motorists being assaulted in the streets and by 8:15 that evening, the first fatality was reported in the news.

Sources: 
Robert Gooding-Williams, ed., Reading Rodney King/Reading Urban Uprising (New York & London: Routledge, 1993); Albert Bergesen and Mex Herman, “Immigration, Race, and Riot: The 1992 Los Angeles Uprising,” American Sociological Review 63:1 (Feb. 1998); “Rodney King Reluctant Symbol of Police Brutality,” CNN.com, http://archives.cnn.com/2001/LAW/03/02/beating.anniversity.king.02/.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Newark Riot (1967)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
The Newark Riot of 1967 which took place in Newark, New Jersey from July 12 through July 17, 1967, was sparked by a display of police brutality. John Smith, an African American cab driver for the Safety Cab Company, was arrested on Wednesday July 12 when he drove his taxi around a police car and double-parked on 15th Avenue.  According to a police report later released to the press, the police claimed that Smith was charged with “tailgating” and driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street.  Smith was also charged with using offensive language and physical assault.

A witness who had seen Smith’s arrest called members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the United Freedom Party, and the Newark Community Union Project.  These civil rights leaders were given permission to see Smith in his 4th Precinct holding cell.  After noticing his injuries inflicted by the police, they demanded that he be transported to a hospital.  Their demands were granted and Smith was moved to Beth Israel Hospital in Newark.
Sources: 
Tom Hayden, Rebellion in Newark (New York: Random House, 1967); Donald L. Horowitz, “Racial Violence in the United States,” Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 37:3 (Dec. 1983)
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Harlem Race Riot (1935)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

Image ©Bettmann/Corbis 
The Harlem Riot of 1935, the first in New York City in the 20th Century, was the consequence of a lingering unemployment crisis and police brutality.  At 2:30 p.m. on March 19, 1935, a 16-year-old black Puerto Rican boy named Lino Rivera stole a 10 cent penknife from the Kress Five and Ten store on 125th Street.  Both the store owner and the assistant manager saw Rivera steal the knife and managed to capture him before he was able to run away.  A mounted police officer was called to the scene to investigate.  When asked if he wanted to press charges, the store owner instructed the officer to let Rivera go. 

In order to avoid anxious crowds and excited spectators, the officer took Rivera down through the back entrance of the store and out onto 124th Street.  When one of the spectators saw the police officer take Rivera away, she shouted that they were going into the basement to beat Rivera.  An ambulance arrived moments later to take care of the store owner and the assistant manager, who suffered scratches and other wounds while trying to tackle Rivera.  When the ambulance left the scene empty, many of the spectators assumed that Rivera had been killed.
Sources: 
Alain Locke, “Harlem: Dark Weather-Vane,” Survey Graphic Special Issue (1936); Allen D. Grimshaw, ed., Racial Violence in the United States (Chicago: Aldine Publishing, 1969); Cheryl Lynn Greenberg, Or Does It Explode (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991): TIME Magazine, “Mischief Out of Misery,” http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,748651-1,00.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Williams, Peter Jr. (1780-1840)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Peter Williams Jr., clergyman, abolitionist, and opponent of colonization was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey around 1780. His family moved to New York City, where he first attended the New York African Free School operated by the Manumission Society. He was also taught privately by Episcopal Church leader, the Reverend Thomas Lyell. Williams joined a group of black Episcopalians who worshiped at New York’s Trinity Church on Sunday afternoons.  There lay leader John Henry Hobart confirmed and tutored Williams as well as other future Episcopal clergymen.  Hobart also officiated at Williams wedding. When Hobart died Williams was elected by the congregation as lay reader and licensed by the bishop.

In 1818 Williams led the other African American Episcopalians in creating their own church, St. Philip’s African Church.  The new church was recognized by the Episcopal Church on July 3, 1819 as one of the earliest predominately black Episcopal Churches in the United States.  On July 10, 1826, Peter Williams Jr. was advanced to the priesthood, becoming the second African American so ordained.

Sources: 
Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: W. W. Norton, 1982); “Peter Williams Jr.” in New York Divided, People, http://www.nydivided.org/popup/People/PeterWilliamsJr.php.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Chicago Race Riot, 1919

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Scene from the Chicago Race Riot
Image Ownership: Public Domain
On July 27, 1919 when large crowds of white and black patrons went to the Lake Michigan beach to seek relief from the 96 degree heat, an angry dispute erupted over the stoning of Eugene Williams, a young African American swimmer who inadvertently crossed a segregated boundary into the “white” swimming area.  White beachgoers hailed stones at the young man causing him to drown. When police refused to arrest any whites, who were accused by black bystanders of having thrown the stones and instead arrested a black beachgoer on a white’s complaint of some minor offense, the blacks began to attack the white policeman. Reports of the incident spread throughout Chicago igniting a clash of white and black rioters across the city’s South Side.  

This incident released years of accumulated racial tensions, starting from a constricting job market and the efforts by Chicago African Americans to secure adequate housing by moving into previously all-white neighborhoods as thousands of African Americans began arriving in the city during World War I as part of what would be called the Great Migration.
Sources: 

Arthur Waskow, From Race Riot to Sit-In: 1919 and the 1960s (New York: Doubleday & Company, 1966); Allan Spear, Black Chicago: The Making of a Negro Ghetto, 1890-1920 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967): Herbert Shapiro, White Violence and Black Response (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Beaumont Race Riot, 1943

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History in the West
Shipyard Warkers, Beaumont, Texas, ca. 1943
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Beaumont Race Riot of 1943 was sparked by racial tensions that arose in this Texas shipbuilding center during World War II.  The sudden influx of African American workers in industrial jobs in the Beaumont shipyard and the subsequent job competition with white workers forced race relations to a boiling point.

The riot itself exploded on June 15, 1943 with most of the violence ending a day later.  White workers at the Pennsylvania Shipyard located in Beaumont, Texas confronted black workers after hearing that a local white woman had accused a black man of raping her.  The woman who made the accusation was later unable to identify her attacker from the number of black inmates held at the city jail.

Sources: 
James S. Olson, “Beaumont Riot of 1943,” The Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/BB/jcb1.html (accessed 11 June, 2008); Glen Yeadon and John Hawkins, The Nazi Hydra in America: Suppressed History of a Century (Joshua Tree: Progressive Press, 2007).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Detroit Race Riot (1943)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Pulling a Man Off a Streetcar, Detroit Riot, 1943
The Detroit Riot of 1943 lasted only about 24 hours from 10:30 on June 20 to 11:00 p.m. on June 21; nonetheless it was considered one of the worst riots during the World War II era.  Several contributing factors revolved around police brutality, and the sudden influx of black migrants from the south into the city, lured by the promise of jobs in defense plants.  The migrants faced an acute housing shortage which many thought would be reduced by the construction of public housing.  However the construction of public housing for blacks in predominately white neighborhoods often created racial tension.  

The Sojourner Truth Homes Riot in 1942, for example, began when whites were enraged by the opening of that project in their neighborhood.  Mobs attempted to keep the black residents from moving into their new homes.  That confrontation laid the foundation for the much larger riot one year later.  
Sources: 
Allen D. Grimshaw, ed., Racial Violence in the United States (Chicago: Aldine Publishing, 1969); Stephen Thernstrom and Abigail Thernstrom, America in Black and White (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Detroit Race Riot (1967)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
The Intersection of 12th Street and Clairmount, Saturday, July 23, 1967
Image Courtesy of the Detroit Free Press
Image Ownership: Public Domain
The Detroit Race Riot in Detroit, Michigan in the summer of 1967 was one of the most violent urban revolts in the 20th century.  It came as an immediate response to police brutality but underlying conditions including segregated housing and schools and rising black unemployment helped drive the anger of the rioters.
Sources: 
Allen D. Grimshaw, ed., Racial Violence in the United States (Chicago: Aldine Publishing, 1969); Stephan Thernstrom and Abigail Thernstrom, America in Black and White (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Attica Prison Riot (1971)

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Prisoners in Control of Prison Yard
at Attica, Sept. 1971
Image Courtesy of ©Bettmann-Corbis

The Attica prison riot took place at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York on September 13, 1971.  This conflict would leave twenty one inmates and nine guards dead.  It was the bloodiest prison conflict since the Civil War.  There were numerous causes of the riot. Tensions were already high as the prison was extremely overcrowded and inmates were being denied basic sanitation needs. They were usually limited to one shower a week and one roll of toilet paper per month. Additionally there were allegations of racism by the prison’s all white guards against the 54% black population and a significant Puerto Rican minority.

The Riot began when a fight between two inmates was broken up by a guard and they were taken to isolation cells. Rumors circulated that the men were going to be beaten in reprisal for the fight. Angry inmates crowded against a prison gate when a faulty bolt gave way, suddenly allowing them access to other areas of the prison including the control center.

Sources: 

PBS: People and Events: Attica Prison Riot, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/rockefellers/peopleevents/e_attica.html; “A Year Ago at Attica” Time, Time Magazine, Inc. (1972-09-25,http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,903593,00.html; 1971: The Attica Prison Uprising, http://libcom.org/history/1971-the-attica-prison-;uprising Attica Revisited: New York City Public Hearings, http://www.talkinghistory.org/attica/mckay-4.html.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, 1967 (Kerner Commission)

Vignette Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
African American History
The Kerner Commission, Washington, D.C., 1967
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders was organized by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 28, 1967 to investigate the urban rebellions erupting in cities across the nation between 1964 and 1967. The findings of the seven-month study were published in March of 1968.  The eleven-member commission, more commonly known as the Kerner Commission, after its chairman, Governor Otto Kerner of Illinois, concluded that the United States was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

Sources: 

U.S. Riot Commission, Report of the National Advisory Commission on
Civil Disorders, (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office,
1968); Phillip J. Meranto, The Kerner Report Revisited: Final Report
and Background Papers
, (Urbana: Institute of Government and Public
Affairs, University of Illinois, 1970); Fred Harris and Roger Wilkins,
eds., Quiet Riots: Race and Poverty in the United States, (New York:
Pantheon Books, 1988).

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Tacoma

Manly, Alex (1866-1944)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Sources: 
Daniel R. Miller, "Manly, Alex" in Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, vol. 4 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991); North Carolina Wilmington Race Riot Commission "Final Report, May 31, 2006" (North Carolina Office of Archives & History, 2006).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Miami (Liberty City) Riot, 1980

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Eric Bennett, Africana (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 1999); Harry A. Ploski and James Williams, The Negro Almanac (Detroit: Gale Research Incorporated, 1989); http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/story/23_florida.html (Accessed October 30, 2009).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

The Notting Hill Riots (1958)

Entry Type: 
Events
History Type: 
Global African History
London Police Clash with White Youth During Notting Hill Riot
Amidst racial intolerance and competition over resources, the white working class of the Notting Hill area, London, UK, launched an attack against members of the black community on August the 30, 1958. Forced to arm themselves in defence, the confrontation lasted a week.
Sources: 
“Notting Hill Riots 1958” taken from “Exploring C20th London”: http://www.20thcenturylondon.org.uk/server.php?show=conInformationRecord.161; “The Home Office cover-up of Notting Hill’s race riots” by Ian Burrell, published in The Independent, August 2003: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-home-office-coverup-of-notting-hills-race-riots-101549.html; “After 44 years secret papers reveal truth about five nights of violence in Notting Hill” by Alan Travis, published in The Guardian, August 2002: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/aug/24/artsandhumanities.nottinghillcarnival2002.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Bath, England

Brixton Riots (April 10-12, 1981)

Entry Type: 
Events
History Type: 
Global African History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Brixton Riots of April 10-12, 1981, described as the first serious riots of the 20th century in England, were the first large scale racial confrontations between black British youth and white British police.  The rioting was sparked by antagonism between black youths and the police.  

Sources: 
Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates,  Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 1999); John Benyon, ed., Scarman and after : essays reflecting on Lord Scarman's Report, the Riots, and Their Aftermath (New York: Pergamon Press, 1984);   "Mr. Whitelaw expected to announce inquiry into Brixton riots today,” The (London) Times, Monday, Apr 13, 1981; pg. 1; Lord Leslie George Scarman, "Scarman on Brixton 1/ The key passages on policing, social order and the riots,” The (London) Times, Thursday, Nov 26, 1981; pg. 4; "How Smoldering tension erupted to set Brixton aflame," The Guardian, April 13, 1981, http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/1981/apr/13/fromthearchive#history-byline; 1981 The Brixton riots, http://libcom.org/history/1981-the-brixton-riots.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Sussex (England)

Nottingham Riots (1958)

Entry Type: 
Events
History Type: 
Global African History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
On the 23rd of August 1958, the country’s “forgotten” race riot unfolded on the streets of Nottingham, England. This culmination of simmering tension, sparked finally over opposition to interracial romance, was a pre-cursor to the mass violence that followed a week later in the London district of Notting Hill.

Similar to many contemporary industrial cities, the post war economic boom that Nottingham had enjoyed was coming to an end by the mid-1950s. The brief period of prosperity, which had been an incentive for Caribbean migration to the United Kingdom, had ended. There were few jobs and many potential employees creating a competitive job market for the 2,500 West Indians and 600 Asians who had been absorbed into an already saturated city. The battle lines drawn in this atmosphere were often racial. Indeed, some black employees were denied work in Nottingham’s factories.
Sources: 
Nottingham, Overview: the 20th century, by Professor John Beckett: http://www.nottsheritagegateway.org.uk/places/nottingham/nottinghamc20.htm
The ‘Forgotten’ Race Riot, by Linda Pressly: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6675793.stm; Bygones: The race riots 50 years on: http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/news/Bygones-race-riots-50-years/article-306378-detail/article.html.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Bath, England

Atlanta Race Riot of 1906

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Atlanta Race Riot or Atlanta Riot of 1906 was the first race riot to take place in the capital city of Georgia. The riot lasted from September 22 to September 24 and was the culmination of a number of factors, including lingering tensions from reconstruction, job competition, black voting rights, and increasing desire of African Americans to secure their civil rights.

By 1900 the population of Atlanta had more than doubled to 89,872 from its 1880 level. The black population nearly quadrupled during that period. Job competition became intense and white politicians responded by implementing and expanding Jim Crow laws. The laws maintained separate black and white neighborhoods, segregated public transportation, and segregated schools. Despite these hurdles, a small number of black families achieved a significant measure of success. Black men voted during Reconstruction and continued to do so after their counterparts were pushed off the rolls throughout the rest of the South.  Consequently there was considerable African American political activism in the city. The growing black middle class made many white citizens uncomfortable but they were also wary of rising crime rates and the perceived threat of black men against white women.

Sources: 
David Fort Godshalk, Veiled Visions: the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot and the Reshaping of American Race Relations (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005); Rebecca Burns, Rage in the Gate City: The Story of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009); http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-3033
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Christiana Riot of 1851

Vignette Type: 
Events
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership, Public Domain
After the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, open skirmishes took place between Southern slave catchers and Northern abolitionists who despised slavery and what they saw as its encroachments on the liberty and freedom of residents of the free states.  Armed altercations and confrontations took place in a number of Northern communities between 1851 and 1861.  One of the earliest—what came to be called the Christiana Riot—took place in 1851 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Lancaster County abuts Maryland along the lower reaches of the Susquehanna River, and the area had two branches of the Underground Railroad.
Sources: 
Thomas P. Slaughter, Bloody Dawn: The Christiana Riot and Racial Violence in the Antebellum North (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); Jonathan Katz, Bloody Dawn: The Fugitive Slave Rebellion (New York: Cromwell, 1974); William Hensel, The Christiana Riot and Treason Trail of 1851 (Lancaster, Pennsylvania: New Era Printing, 1911); David Forbes,  A True Story of the Christiana Riot (Quarryville, Pennsylvania, 1898);  Thomas Calcarco, Places of the Underground Railroad, a Geographical Guide (Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing, 2010); http://www.etymonline.com/cw/christiana.htm
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Independent Historian

Columbus Avenue African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church [Boston] (1838- )

Vignette Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
African American History
"Image Ownership: Public Domain"
The Columbus Avenue African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion Church in Boston, Massachusetts is most famous as the site of the July 30, 1903 Boston Riot. Although it is not the oldest African American church in the state of Massachusetts, it represents a critical moment in early 20th century African American politics.

Seventeen members of the African American Revere Street Methodist Church broke away to form Boston’s A.M.E. Zion Church in 1838. The church was originally located in the Beacon Hill North Slope area of Boston. Rev. Jehiel C. Beman served as A.M.E. Zion’s first minister. Beman was an elite member of the New England free black community as well as a temperance activist and abolitionist.

Beginning in 1865, prominent abolitionist Eliza A. Gardner helped the church raise funds to relocate to a larger space. She went on to become a long-time church member of seventy-five years. Although A.M.E Zion occupied various buildings throughout the years, it finally moved to Columbus Avenue in Boston’s South End in 1902, occupying a building that was previously Adath Israel synagogue. Many of the church’s members during this period were migrants from the South.
Sources: 
African American Churches of Beacon Hill; Angela Jones, African American Civil Rights: Early Activism and the Niagara Movement (New York: Praeger, 2011); Elliot M. Rudwick, “Race Leadership: Background of the Boston Riot of 1903,” The Journal of Negro Education 31:1 (Winter 1962), pp. 16-24.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle
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