Civil Rights Essay: The History Of 1968 Riots In Baltimore

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July 17, 2015

It isn’t unprecedented for the city of Baltimore to deal with issues of civil unrest. Just as recent events have calmed down, we are reminded of a more tumultuous time for the city of Baltimore. It was April 4,1968 when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.

civil-rights-essay

Like most major cities in the United States, Baltimore became a stage where civil unrest gripped the city. Over the next two weeks, civil unrest would lead to six deaths, scores of injuries and a great deal of property damage (archives.ubalt.edu).

This was a time when people had enough of perceived injustice. While the most recent issue in Baltimore involved the police department and a citizen dying in their custody, it should not be lost upon us that there are incidents catching the attention of citizens on a national level. The context is quite similar to that of 1968 where citizens were taking to the street to protest the fact that civil rights were being violated and the justice system seemed to be moving too slowly to adequately address the issues.

The results of the 1968 riots were detrimental to the city of Baltimore. Many residents decided to leave the city which hurt the local economy. By the year 1980, the population of Baltimore had decreased by 119,000 citizens (Yockel 2007).  In the months that followed, there were many reports that analyzed the disturbances in Baltimore. The conclusions pointed to a long standing cycle of racism, poverty and economic repression of minorities in the city.

The people who participated in the riots all had their own reasons to engage in civil disobedience (Yockel 2007). Whether it was revenge against an unkind shop owner or a chance to take goods that they could not afford, those who took part in the riots of 1968 left an unquestioned legacy in their midst.

References:

http://archives.ubalt.edu/bsr/index.html
http://www.baltimoremagazine.net/2007/5/1/100-years-the-riots-of-1968?p=2007/5/100-years-the-riots-of-1968

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