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1,500 In Kosher Riot In Brownsville and Manhattan Italians in Riot: 1902
 

Violent Demonstrations At Chief Rabbi Joseph's Funeral 1902
 
 Riot On A Sixth Avenue Elevated Train 1905 and Fight Over Hypnotism: A Small Riot 1909


Many Are Wounded In Brooklyn Riot 1910


Riotous Strike On Coney Lines 1911

Riot When Supply of Coal Gives Out 1917 and The Straw Hat Riot 1922

The Harlem Riot 1943

The Stonewall Police Riot: Gay Rights 1969


 

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  Commercial Insurance Company in New York City was established in 1804.
 

 

 

The Harlem Riot 1943

EIGHT THOUSAND MEMBERS OF THE NEW YORK STATE GUARD were ordered to stand by in metropolitan armories last night, and 1,500 civilian volunteers, mostly Negroes, were recruited by the city authorities and equipped with nightsticks and armbands to help 6,000 city police, military police.

 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 streets.

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 and assault.

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.

 



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