Remembering 7 ‘Race Riots’ That Happened Exactly 50 Years Ago

By Aura Bogado Aug 18, 2014

During roughly six weeks between July and August 1964, there were seven so-called "race riots." Five people died as a result, and there were nearly 1,000 injuries and nearly 2,500 arrests. It all started in Harlem when a white off-duty lieutenant named Thomas Gilligan shot and killed black 15-year-old James Powell–who was left to bleed to death on the ground. The unrest spread from New York all the way to Chicago. These moments have been historically thwarted by the Watts Riots of 1965, but have been chronicled as precursors.

A special commissioned tasked with figuring out the Watts Riots in 1965 identified a deep dislike of police, inadequate education and a job crisis as reasons for the events of the summer of 1964, which occurred in four different states. The commission turned its report over to California Governor Pat Brown in 1965–not to be confused with his son, Governor Jerry Brown, who’s in power there today.

Read past the antiquated terms like "Negroes," and a lot of this still reads true today:


The University of Southern California has made the commission’s report available in full online