Many underlying causes are cited, including poverty, poor housing conditions, lack of employment opportunities, and political racial tensions.
The riot began on July 24th, 1964 with the arrest of a 19-year-old black man at a block party on Nassau Street near Joseph Avenue, part of the former 7th Ward. Amid rumors of police brutality, an angry crowd formed on Joseph Avenue and became violent.
Activity was centered around the Joseph Avenue area, but it spread into other parts of the city's northern neighborhoods, as well as parts of downtown. The violence continued until the evening of July 26th, leaving 4 dead, and nearly 1000 arrested. 204 stores were looted or damaged.
"A continuing challenge has been to change the community’s thinking and parlance in relation to the events that occurred in July 1964. We have strong objections to the use of the term "race riot," and feel that even the term "riot" is inaccurate. It is clear that the original outburst of violence that kicked off the event in the northeast part of the city was spontaneous, but our interview with Darryl Porter reveals (for the first time on record) that the violence that flared up on the second night, across town in the southwest corner of the city, was a planned event. Based on this new information, made public for the first time in JULY '64, it is our contention that Minister Florence’s characterization of the event as a "rebellion" is the most accurate."
The Joseph Ave area (The Crescent) is currently an economically disadvantaged area, with high rates of poverty and crime.
Rochester 1964 Race Riot on Wikipedia
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