City Patrol units and air-raid wardens prevent a
recurrence of Sunday night's rioting in Harlem. In
addition, a 10:30 P.M. partial curfew was imposed on
West Harlem, the wartime dim out was lifted so the
district could be brightly illuminated, all liquor
stores and bars were closed and traffic was halted
except for guarded food trucks and trolley cars. With
quiet restored last night and with Harlem heavily
guarded, Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia announced in his
fourth broadcast of the day, at 9:55 P.M. that "the
situation at this moment is definitely under control."
Work As Usual Urged
The Mayor urged all Harlem
residents to go to work as usual this morning. If things
continued quiet, he said, his curfew would be lifted
soon. In another broadcast at 10:30 P.M. the Mayor
announced the curfew had gone into effect and pleaded
with all Harlem residents to get off the
streets and go home. He then left to make another tour
of Harlem's streets, brilliantly lighted because of the
lifting of the dim out regulations.
Many persons were on the streets throughout Harlem last
night, and many more peered out of their windows, but
they maintained quiet and order. No gangs of hoodlums
were in evidence. A few small groups that looked as if
they might be incipient troublemakers were dispersed by
the police. By 11 o'clock the streets were nearly
deserted. Only minor disturbances were reported.
The Mayor left for home at 1 o'clock this morning, after
an almost unbroken vigil that began Sunday night. The
street guards remained on duty, with representatives of
the American Red Cross touring the area between 11:30
and 1:30 o'clock to serve them crullers and lemonade.
Among the civilian volunteers who patrolled the Harlem
streets with the police were 300 Negro women armed with
clubs and wearing armbands to identify them as upholders
of law and order.
The police announced that the ban on sales of
intoxicants applied in the area from the North River to
the East River between 100th and 170th Streets. This
included areas not in Harlem, such as the Columbia
University section and part of Washington Heights. John
F. O'Connell, chairman of the State Liquor Authority,
said in his order that sales would be prohibited until
further notice. He also announced that delivery of
stocks to licensed retail places had been forbidden.
The curfew zone was less extensive, extending from Fifth
Avenue, to St. Nicholas Avenue between 110th and 155th
When yesterday's dawn brought an end to the worst part
of the most violent disturbances in Harlem's history,
five persons had been killed, 400 wounded or injured,
and hundreds of stores and shops had been wrecked and
looted by gangs of hoodlums and thieves. Property damage
was estimated as high as $5,000,000.
500 Persons Arrested
Sporadic pillaging continued all day, but the area was
comparatively quiet late yesterday afternoon. By that
time nearly 500 persons had been arrested, all Negroes,
and 100 of them women, on charges of rioting, looting
The dead were all Negroes, as were all the injured
except about forty policemen, including two captains.
The disorder was not a race riot, as virtually the only
white persons involved were among the police who
attempted to maintain law and order and the storekeepers
whose property was stolen.
Starting from a minor incident when a white policeman
shot and slightly wounded an off-duty Negro soldier whom
he charged with interfering in the arrest of a Negro
woman in the lobby of a hotel on West 126th Street, the
trouble was stirred up by false rumors that circulated
rapidly and extensively, to the effect that the soldier
had been killed in the presence of his mother.
Gangs of young hoodlums formed in the streets, first
threatening to rush the hospital where the wounded
soldier had been taken, then throwing bottles and
stones, and finally running wild in an orgy of smashing
windows, robbing and setting fire to stores, overturning
and burning automobiles, attacking policemen, street
fighting, stabbings and shootings.
Many of the rioters were in their late "teens or early
twenties, and some wore zoot suits. They appeared to be
organized in gangs ranging in size up to forty or fifty
persons, some of which included young girls and
children. In some cases the girls and children followed
the gangs and ran away with loot the older boys and men
had thrown into the street.
Prompt and courageous action by Mayor La Guardia, and
the police, plus the calm maintained by the white
population and most of the Negroes of New York, kept the
trouble from developing into a race riot as did the
recent disorders in Detroit.
Both riots had similar powder keg backgrounds in the
rapid growth and overcrowding of Negro districts in
recent years, charges of discrimination in the Army,
Navy and war industry, demands for economic and social
equality, and the rise of Negro and radical agitators
preying on these
conditions. Both were marked by the spread of false
rumors magnifying relatively minor incidents that served
as the sparks for the tinderbox.
There the similarity ended, however. Whereas gangs of
white hoodlums organized in Detroit to hunt down
individual Negroes who ventured out of the Negro
district, thus emulating Negro gangs in Negro districts,
nothing like this occurred in New York.