The protests in Ferguson, New York, and most recently, Baltimore, have been ignited by a rash of violence against young Black people by police. Earlier this week, riots erupted in Baltimore in response to the police custody death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, recalling the 1968 riots after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Baltimore were the cities most affected by the 1968 outbreaks, which began as news spread of King’s April 4 assassination in Memphis, Tenn. Around 30 cities had reports of rioting and violence that week.
Stokely Carmichael, the former leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, led a contingent of peaceful protesters throughout Washington, D.C. that day. But in the days after, the protests became increasingly violent, ravaging the Shaw and H Street Corridor neighborhoods. Buildings were burned and widespread looting became the order of the day.
In the aftermath, 12 persons died, over 1,000 were injured, and over 6,000 people were arrested. At a reported $27 million, damage in D.C. was the highest of all the cities that saw rioting, a figure that would equal $175 million in today’s economy.
As protesters advanced towards the White House, The D.C. National Guard was deployed on April 5 and halted halting most of the skirmishes and officially ending them on April 8.
In Baltimore, riots began on April 6 and raged on until April 14. Both the city’s west and east sides were looted and rioting spread into neighboring residential districts. The National Guard was called in, numbering around 10,000 troops on the ground. In Baltimore, six people died, 700 were injured and nearly 6,000 were arrested. Damages were estimated at $12 million
Baltimore and D.C. faced a slow recovery. Baltimore remains severely underdeveloped, a point that has been raised by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake during this latest uprising.
(Photos: AP, Public Domain)