The Harlem Riot of 1935
This project will be focused on the Harlem Riot that occurred in 1935. It will also touch upon the riots in 1943, and how the riot in 1935 affected them. I will go over both the immediate cause and the long term build up of the riot were, how long it went on for and what was done to make any changes.
2. The immediate cause of the riot was the incident with Lino Rivera and how he was caught shoplifting. Some of the other issues that led to it, was the invasion of Italy in Ethiopia and the discrimination of minorities in certain jobs, the "Don't Buy Where You Can't Work" boycott.
4.This riot was more focused on white owned businesses. They did not target white people themselves, but more of their business, because they were the ones who did not allow blacks to work in their stores. For the unemployment rate was high among blacks. They felt that they needed to speak and show how frustrated they were on the discrimination and inequality they were facing.
While there were problems in America, a lot of attention was more towards problems in other countries in Europe and Asia, so for them to act in a peaceful manner wasn't going to make any changes.
March 19th, 19354. On March 19th, 1935 Lino Rivera, a sixteen year old boy was caught stealing a penknife from Kress's store. The store was located on 125th Street and Seventh Avenue. Rivera and the store worker got into an altercation. There was a woman who was in the store and said that Rivera was nearly beaten to death. At the same time of this all occurring, there was a hearse that was outside by the store and then everyone assumed that Lino really was killed. The Police arrived and tried to calm the people down, but it was too late. Moments later, people started showing up and protesting. It started off as a protest, then the store window was broken and that's when the riot began. they made so many assumptions that night. Flyers were being handed out it read:
"Child Brutally Beaten- Women Attacked by Boss and Cops- Child near DEATH....
ONE HOUR AGO A TWELVE YEAR OLD NEGRO BOY WAS BRUTALLY BEATEN BY THE MANAGEMENT OF KRESS FIVE AND TENN CENT STORE.
THE BOY IS NEAR DEATH.
HE WAS MERCILESSLY BEATEN BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT HE "STOLEN" A FIVE CENT KNIFE.
A NEGRO WOMAN WHO SPRANG TO THE DEFENSE OF THE BOY HAD HER ARMS BROKEN BY THESE THUGS AND WAS THEN ARRESTED.
WORKERS, NEGRPO AND WHITE. PROTEST AGAINST THIS LYNCH ATTACK OM INNOCENT NEGRO PEOPLE. (The Young Liberators)"
There was another assumption made by the Young Communist League, stating that Rivera was a 12 year old boy, was brutal beaten for taking a piece of candy. They continued to state that there was terror against the Negro people. They say how bosses are cruel to their employees, and don't even pay for them to make a living and don't care about their employee's children. At they end they stated that in response to the beating they have organize a resistance against the brutal attacks of bosses and police.
4. Throughout the day, store windows were being broken on 125th Street from Fifth Ave to Eight Ave. The amount of rioters increased to thousands. The riot was blamed on the bad people in society. The white store owners said that hoodlums and outlaws were to be blamed. They say that the young one are the ones who usually start riots, but in a study on riot of 1935, both men and women, of all ages were part of the riot.
9. There were four men who put in charge as the ring leaders. They were charged with inciting a riot and assault. (PS)
11. Some say that the riot in 1935 was marked as the end of the Harlem Renaissance. Harlem was like a sacred place blacks. They were a lot of well known scholars and artist there. Ironically pictures became a bigger practice after the Renaissance. It was then after the riot, they started documenting Harlem and how it really was, behind all the media and the prosperity of the Renaissance period.
5. Before the riot was the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was marked as of African American Literature, social and cultural and how big it got during the 1920s and 1930s. It spread to different cities , but Harlem was the center of it all. It was a new era for ethnic pride. It was more for a society that provided better rights for blacks. Renaissance brought out new era of music, jazz. It drew attention to some whites. Though it had a major increase on black pride, it didn't "erase" the social injustices that blacks withstood.
It was a motivation for blacks to expand upon their culture and make something of themselves. It influenced the younger generations.
System Before Riot
10. The "Don't Buy Where You Can't Work" movement was where minorities weren't able to work in certain places. People boycotted those that wouldn't employ them. This boycott took place in the early 1930s. Chicago was the first place where it started. The goal was to end discrimination against minorities. Unfortunately it stills occurs today amongst a lot of people. This can be seen as a long term cause of the riot, because blacks faced a lot of inequality that angered them. This was during the time of the Depression and many people were being laid off. This frustrated many people, from which the protest began. Some did not want Communist to be part of the movement because they thought that they would ruin what was going on
10. In 1929, the boycott started in Chicago. It then spread to cities across the country like Toledo, Detroit, Cleveland, Washington, Baltimore, Richmond, New York and many other cities. It was deemed a success because Blacks were now being placed in white-collar jobs. It was no longer rare to see blacks working in certain stores. In 1933, around 300 white-collar jobs were created in Chicago.
In 1933, the first successful job campaign was in Brooklyn.
In 1935, courts banned the picketing. By this point, unemployment rates are high. The next month, things got better and some blacks were getting jobs at least. This was during the same time of when the riot occurred.
A lot of times, whites were more likely to get hired than blacks, by which then they suffered more from the depression during that time.
10. There was another movement during that time period, it was said to be Marcus Garvey's racial renaissance, Garveyism. His viewpoint was that the minds of white people could never be moved and there wouldn't be any equality for blacks. He was for "self-proficiency and to resist racial oppression"
1. Garveyism was said to offer blacks something new. Where they would abandon their " culture of stultifying caution" for "bowed-head, hat-in-the-hand subservient strategies of survival. It offered both old and new. It was built upon the work from the past and anticolonial activism.
His movement was spread throughout other states and countries.
8. Before the depression, blacks were a small percentage of workers, blacks of course, were affected much more than white, since it was during the time of the depression . White unemployment was almost half than black unemployment. The same year of the riot, blacks had only 2.7 percent of jobs in NYC. There was a lot of discrimination against blacks in the hospitals, both as workers and patients. Segregating the Harlem Hospital was an idea that some wanted. The hospital struggled a lot because of the discrimination. Majority of the patients were black, but a small of workers were black. The hospital was understaffed and over crowded, this then became one of the issues that the rioters focused on, to spread equality throughout.
4. Only white owned stores were targeted. Reports said that "75 people were arrested, 57 people and seven police were injured, and 626 windows were broken." 3. The next morning, it was said that "Two million dollars worth in damages and three were dead . 10. Thirty people were hospitalized with bullet wounds and hundreds were arrested for looting. The Mayor at time had thirteen men investigate conditions that led to the revolt. What was revealed was that racial discrimination amongst blacks and how wrongfully they were treated both socially and job wise.
11. The evening, white tourists came to see the aftermath of the riot. In a different aspect, the riot opened a new route in image culture. It was after that time, photography became a bigger thing and a more expressive way.
2 .E. Franklin Frazier blamed the riot on the lack of jobs, low wages, high rents, bad schools, poor health care and systematic police brutality. The mayor he did not realize how bad things were , he tried to create better opportunities for people to become hired, he hired some blacks to do city jobs.
Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia made changes in housing, health education and recreation. Discrimination in civil services were also sought to decrease. 3. The Harlem hospital was made bigger and more public housing was made available for blacks.
Alain Locke argued that the Harlem riot of 1935 demonstrated that “the Negro is not merely the man who shouldn't be forgotten; he is the man who cannot safely be ignored.” which found to be interesting to figure if its a positive response or a negative one. Because if you continue to ignore the demands of the Negro, they will make sure their voices are heard
4. One organization that was there to help Harlem with their problems was the Emergency Relief Bureau (ERB). They established an advisory that was Advisory Committee on Negro Problems that would help solve some issues. The first black public housing project, The Harlem River Houses, was built and opened in 1937. City hospitals allowed black nurses to work in their facilities. Many other jobs were now made available to blacks. The economy did not change so much for blacks. Even though they had a lot of job growth, they were still were below.
Blacks still received more government aid than whites, they even had a dying rate. Harlem had a higher dying rate than the whole city itself. For example, the mortality rate was that blacks had a 12.8 deaths per thousand and whites were 10.7 per thousand."
4. Soon after the riot, they had try to change things for Blacks, but that died down. Many programs such as the New Deal, political leaders campaign for equal rights were becoming less and less in the aid for blacks.
There were complaints for the school systems and their poor quality, but not much was changed to make things better, because it continued to be a problem. Though LaGuardia made public announcements that he would make changes, some took years for something to be done. For example, allowing them work in transportation jobs.
4. What had happened was that the mother of a soldier, Robert J. Brandy, was being arrested and Brandy intervened and punched the officer. Another man intervened and Brandy attempted to run away and was shot. What started the whole protest was that they said a soldier was killed by a white cop to help his mother.
2.The results of the riot were five were dead, over 400 people were injured and Hundreds were arrested. The damage was almost five million dollars, more than double of the previous riot.(HD)
4.Three months prior to the riot, picketing was determined to be illegal by court. Many felt that there weren't enough changes done in order to make things better for blacks, so they felt that they needed to have their voices heard and they needed to make a statement so they could make a difference. In order to make an appeal towards the blacks, LaGuardia said that it was unlawful for discrimination in tenant selection and that he'd try and change that. For example, the Stuyvesant Town was housing just whites, and LaGuardia made a statement that he opposed that. This was an issue before the riot of 1943, and they still managed to have only white tenants living there. The main issues at the time were with white owned properties.
4.There was a lot controversy with things that went on in Harlem. For example, the Stuyvesant Town, issue, the discrimination of black women in (WAVES), Women's Reserve of the United States Naval Reserve, and Savoy Ballroom. They expected LaGuardia to take a stand and make things better for blacks but he didn't do much to change things. Stuyvesant Town was a public housing that only allowed white tenants. WAVES excluded black women. Savoy Ballroom was a dance club that was shut down due to prostitution, but many felt that it was because blacks also attended there.
There was a lot of police brutality and many feared police, so they felt they needed to take actions upon themselves. Their goal was to destroy whites not blacks. They did not touch black owned stores or black bystanders.
Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. made a statement that "when they smashing windows they thought they were breaking skulls of the race haters and race baiters." This shows how frustrated people really were and the extent they would go through in order to make a point for what's right.
The positive thing about this riot is that it made a big improvement compared to the last one. The economy in Harlem was much better. People still faced racism and whites still flourished more, but things were becoming better. 4.LaGuardia did continue to fight segregated housing and to help with postwar housing for black veterans.
Though the incident with Lino Rivera is what sparked the whole riot, the riot was all in cause of the hardships that black endured and the discrimination they faced.
The other causes of the riot were the discrimination on blacks towards jobs mainly. For them to expand and prosper, they were very limited.
Despite changes that LaGuardia made to make things better, blacks still were not able to grow economically and socially. They still withstood discrimination and were not able to prosper to make a better living for their families. His goal was to promote a better place for Harlem.
LaGuardia, of course, didn't get much done because the people were still frustrated, which then led to another riot. By that time after things had gotten much better.
They could not blame the riot on a set class of people, because it consisted of both low and middle class people. This goes to show that in equality was spread amongst everyone and not just one class.
Even though riots were not such a peaceful way to get their voices heard, they realized that it was a way to get political action to get more financial support, better health care and more rules against discrimination. They expressed themselves in a violent manner but making a point.
This shows that history repeats itself. Whenever something is unjust people tend to act in the same way to get their point across. A lot of times people try to protest, but nothing gets done, so they become frustrated and the protest turns into a riot and at this point, their voices are heard. It makes a difference on whose ears they fall upon and it has a louder voice.
2. Alex L. Swan. "THE HARLEM AND DETROIT RIOTS OF 1943: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS." Berkeley Journal of Sociology 16 (1971): 75-93.
3. Antonio Ford. "Harlem Race Riot of 1935." 2009, 333-36.
4. Cheryl Greenburg. “Politics of Disorder: Reexamining Harlem’s Riot of 1935 and 1943.” Sage Publications, Inc 18, no. 4 (August 1992): 395–441. doi:10.1177/009614429201800402.
5. Dinah Birch, and Katy Hooper. "Harlem Renaissance." The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature, 2012, The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature.
6. James Wilson. "Harlem, History, and First-Year Composition: Reconstructing the Harlem of the 1930s through Multiple Research Methods." Teaching English in the Two-Year College 31, no. 2 (2003): 122-Year College, 2003, Vol.31(2), P.122-129.
7. Joanne Reitano. “Moving Minds and Mountains: African Americans in New York City From 1919 to 1945.” Afro - Americans in New York Life and History 34, no. 1 (January 2010): 118–34.
10. Ralph Crowder. ""Don't Buy Where You Can't Work": An Investigation of the Political Forces and Social Conflict Within the Harlem Boycott of 1934." Afro - Americans in New York Life and History 15, no. 2 (1991): 7.
11. Sara Blair. Harlem Crossroads. New Jersey. Princeton University Press, 2007.
Birch, Dinah, and Katy Hooper. "Harlem Renaissance." The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature, 2012, The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature.
Blair, Sara. Harlem Crossroads. New Jersey. Princeton University Press, 2007.
Crowder, Ralph. ""Don't Buy Where You Can't Work": An Investigation of the Political Forces and Social Conflict Within the Harlem Boycott of 1934." Afro - Americans in New York Life and History 15, no. 2 (1991): 7.
Ewing, Adam. "Garvey or Garveyism?" Transition: An International Review, no. 105 (2011): 130-45.
Ford, Antonio. "Harlem Race Riot of 1935." 2009, 333-36.
Greenberg, Cheryl. “Politics of Disorder: Reexamining Harlem’s Riot of 1935 and 1943.” Sage Publications, Inc 18, no. 4 (August 1992): 395–441. doi:10.1177/009614429201800402.
Greene, Larry A. “Harlem, The Depression Years: Leadership and Social Conditions.” Afro - Americans in New York Life and History 17, no. 2 (July 31, 1993): 33.
"POLICE END HARLEM RIOT; MAYOR STARTS INQUIRY; DODGE SEES A RED PLOT." New York Times (1923-Current File) (New York, N.Y.), March 21, 1935.
Reitano, Joanne. “Moving Minds and Mountains: African Americans in New York City From 1919 to 1945.” Afro - Americans in New York Life and History 34, no. 1 (January 2010): 118–34.
Swan, L. Alex. "THE HARLEM AND DETROIT RIOTS OF 1943: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS." Berkeley Journal of Sociology 16 (1971): 75-93.
Wilson, James. "Harlem, History, and First-Year Composition: Reconstructing the Harlem of the 1930s through Multiple Research Methods." Teaching English in the Two-Year College 31, no. 2 (2003): 122-Year College, 2003, Vol.31(2), P.122-129.