On July 2, 1964 President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion or national origin. The Act also provides the federal government with the powers to enforce desegregation.
Within the month, several race riots occurred throughout the United States. Of particular significance were the riots occurring in Rochester New York between July 24th and 26th 1964.
On Friday, July 24, 1964 at 10:00 PM, Police arrest a 19-year old male for public intoxication at a block party. About 200 people were gathered on Nassau Street near Joseph Avenue in the Seventh Ward in Rochester, New York. There were rumors spreading that lead to the crowd becoming violent. These rumors were that a child had been attacked by a police dog and a pregnant woman had been slapped by a police officer.
By 11:30 PM, about 400 people riot on Joseph Avenue; all available police officers are called to the scene. Bricks are thrown at police cars.
On July 25, 1964 at 12:30 AM, Police Chief William Lombard urges crowd to disperse. Rioters throw stones, spit on Lombard and overturn his car. By 2:00 am, Police Chief William Lombard instructs officers on use of riot weapons.
By 3:30 AM, the crowd swells to more than 2,000; looting spreads down Joseph and Clinton Avenues; city police, state troopers and sheriff’s deputies are called in. At 4:24 AM, a state of emergency is declared.
When the sun came up, City Manager Porter Homer orders 8:00 PM curfew in the city of Rochester; closes the downtown and all liquor stores in Rochester and adjoining towns. African American leaders go to the Public Safety Building, and volunteer to help quell disturbances planned in the Third Ward.
When night falls on July 25, 1964, violence breaks out in the Third Ward; angry mobs swarm the streets; rioters toss Molotov cocktails, rocks and bottles from rooftops and store windows. At 10:00 PM, a white man is attacked and killed on Clarissa and Atkinson Streets.
On Sunday, July 26, 1964, at 3:00 PM, a helicopter surveying riot damage crashes into a Clarissa Street home, killing three. At this link, Roberta Abbott Buckle talks about her perspective of the 1964 riots that started with racial resentment. Her father, Robert Abbott, director of Monroe County Civil Defense, was in a helicopter that crashed during the chaos. Video by Carlos Ortiz http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2014/07/19/roberta-abbott-buckle-rochester-riots/12855941/
The National Guard called in to help “weary local and state police” control riot, marking the first time the National Guard is called out in a northern city. By evening, the Rochester riots end. Nearly 1,000 people are arrested; the majority, between 20 and 40 years old, employed, with no prior record. Fifteen percent are white.
Race riots were nothing new in the United States and African Americans were not always the parties involved. At the following link, you can find links to the riots throughout United States History. They are grouped into periods: