Essay about James Baldwin's Harlem Riots

Essay about James Baldwin's Harlem Riots

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Collecting the Harlem Riots

?It would have been better to have left the plate glass as it had been and the goods lying in the stores. It would have been better, but it would have also have been intolerable, for Harlem needed something to smash?

This quote by James Baldwin pertains to his relevant thoughts on the Harlem Riots of 1943. A copy of Newsweek from August 9,1943 described the riot in great detail, ?Within a half hour Harlem?s hoodlums were on the march. Windows of pawnshops and liquor and grocery stores were smashed and looted. The Negroes began wielding knives and the police their guns? Thousands of police reserves, many of them Negroes, were rushed to the district?All traffic was re routed around Harlem?It came down chiefly to a battle between the police and Negro looters.? Much of Baldwin?s writing came from this World War II time period full of racial tension. The Harlem Riots of 1943 were another piece in the Civil Rights movement of which Baldwin used events and experiences from in his own writings.

On August 1, 1943, Harlem ?Boiled over,? according to NAACP leader Walter White (NY Times, 17). The start of the event was attributed to one, ?Private Robert Bandy, the 26-year-old Negro soldier?who is charged with attacking a white policeman who was arresting a Negro woman in a Harlem hotel? (New York Times, 17). Rumors soon spread that police officers had killed a black soldier who was trying to protect his mother. This caused a momentous outburst of rioting destroying much of Harlem. The statistics of the riot vary depending on the source, but around 500 persons were injured, five dead, 400-500 arrested, and property damage estimated at 500,000 to a million dollars. ...


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... It stirred up much controversy along with the many other riots and civil rights movements of the time. For the people living during these times, like James Baldwin, much inspiration, realization, and experience occurred. Baldwin was able to take these troubled times and incorporate them into his passion, writing.

Works Cited

Heaps, Willard A. Riots, U.S.A. New York: The Seabury Press, 1970.

"Curfew In Harlem Relaxed to 11:30" : The New York Times. August 4, : 8.

?Harlem Hoodlums? : Newsweek. August 9, 1943

"OPA Establishes Office in Harlem" New York Times. (1857-Current file)

"Police Ease Curbs With Harlem Quiet" : The New York Times. August 5, 1943: 17.

Proquest Historical Newspapers : The New York Times. Aug. 7, 1943: 13.

***Please note that not all of the required information is included because it was not supplied in the information.

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