1964 Race Riot

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In July of 1964, Rochester experienced a spree of race-related violence, primarily in and around the Joseph Avenue area. The name given to this event is the 1964 Race Riot.


Many underlying causes are cited, including poverty, poor housing conditions, lack of employment opportunities, and political racial tensions.

The Beginning

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.

The Riot

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.

In an interview by PBS with [WWW]JULY '64 filmmakers Carvin Eison and Chris Christopher, they noted:

[WWW]JULY '64 has been shown on PBS, in film festivals, and at Little Theatre in February, 2008.

Lasting Effects

The Joseph Ave area (The Crescent) is currently an economically disadvantaged area, with high rates of poverty and crime.

Major Figures


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