Rochester Race Riot Papers


Title: ROCHESTER RACE RIOT PAPERS
Location:
D.185
Date range:
1964-1966
Size: 4 boxes, 1 photograph album, 1 package



These papers chronicle the July 24-26, 1964 racial disturbances in Rochester NY and their aftermath. The collection consists mainly of newspaper clippings, painstakingly collected and organized by William J. Bub, Jr. (1926-1980). Bub was a student at Syracuse University's Maxwell Graduate School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. This archive is the product of his research for a Masters thesis.

Violence and looting in Rochester spanned a period of approximately sixty hours, resulting in four deaths, at least 350 injuries, over 800 arrests, and property damage totalling more than a million dollars. The National Guard was called in to keep the peace. Dubbed"'smugtown" in the 1950s because of the comfort and complacency borne of the economic prosperity and amicable labor-management relations fostered by the Eastman Kodak Company and other large, successful, high-tech corporations, the riots represented a profound blow to Rochester's positive self-image. As the flames of discontent were replaced by the glare of the media spotlight, black and white Rochester residents were forced to reflect--from different perspectives and with different conclusions--on the causes and meanings of this devastating event.

The "riot" was precipitated by the arrest of an allegedly drunk and disorderly African- American man at a Joseph Avenue street dance. But even in its immediate aftermath, many looked to underlying social and environmental conditions to explain the events that followed. These conditions were analagous to those that existed in many Northern cities. They included a large and rapid influx of African-Americans from the South, the de-facto segregation of black arrivals in specific areas of the residential urban core, a failure to extend economic opportunities from white to black residents, the physical decay of black neighborhoods due to poverty and inadequate services, the routine exploitation of African-American tenants by white landlords, the neglect and persecution of blacks at the hands of an overwhelmingly white police force, inequities in educational instruction and facilities, and the inability of African-Americans to redress grievances through legitimate political channels. Rochester's was one of a trio of 'riots' in the summer of 1964. Together, they inaugurated the "long hot summers" of racial strife that marked the mid and late sixties. It is to the origins, effects, and implications of such events that the items in this collection ultimately speak.

The first box contains newspaper clippings arranged chronologically--starting on July 25, 1964, the day after the rioting began, and ending in the summer of 1966. These clippings are culled primarily from Rochester's two daily newspapers, the Democrat and Chronicle and Times-Union. There are also some pieces from the New York Times and a considerable number of clippings from the Los Angeles Times documenting events in Watts the following summer.

The second box is arranged by subject. The first 34 folders are organized according to the subject divisions that Bub himself used. They are arranged alphabetically. The remaining folders have since been compiled from miscellaneous items in Bub's collection. The subject headings reflect Bub's interest in social issues contributing to racial unrest. Apart from newspaper clippings, Bub also kept articles from national and local magazines and other publications. Two of Bub's own essays are also included.

The third box of the collection consists of 30 reel to reel tapes. They contain newcasts and media interviews as well as William Bub's interviews of various members of the Rochester community concerning the causes and effects of the 'riot.' This box also includes index cards with the names of over 800 people arrested during the turmoil.

The final item in the collection is an album of 48 black and white 8 x 10 photographs of the riots. The pictures are likely those of local newspaper photographers although no credit is given by Bub. Researchers interested in the effects of the riot, specifically the arrival of IAF leader Saul Alinsky and the beginnings of FIGHT and other civil rights initiatives should also consult the Franklin Florence Papers (D.167).

Gift of Jean U. Bub, 1984.


Contents:

BOX 1: CHRONOLOGICAL FILE OF NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS AND ARTICLES

  1. Scrapbook #1 - July 25-July 31, 1964
  2. Scrapbook #2 - July 31-August 12, 1964
  3. Scrapbook #3 - August 12-September 16, 1964
  4. Scrapbook #4 - September 16-November 20, 1964.
  5. Scrapbook #5 - November 21, 1964-February 9, 1965
  6. Scrapbook #6 - February 10-March 30, 1965
  7. January 1965
  8. February 1965
  9. March 1965
  10. April 1965
  11. May 1965
  12. June 1965
  13. July 1965
  14. August 1-15, 1965
  15. August 16-31, 1965
  16. September 1965
  17. October 1965
  18. November 1965
  19. December 1965
  20. 1965 clippings undated
  21. Summer 1966 clippings
  22. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and Rochester Times-Union - clippings
  23. New York Times - clippings
  24. Los Angeles Times - clippings
  25. Other Newspapers - clippings
BOX 2: SUBJECT FILES (FOLDERS 1-34 AS ORGANIZED BY WILLIAM BUB)

Folder:
  1. Alinsky, Saul and FIGHT
  2. Alinsky, Saul and FIGHT
  3. Arraignments- Arrests - Grand Jury Action
  4. Authority Conflict
  5. Background Miscellaneous
  6. Big Brothers- Big Sisters
  7. Cause and Effect
  8. Claims - Liability
  9. Clergy Comment
  10. Cost
  11. Damage Listing
  12. Davidson Vigilantes
  13. Duplicates
  14. Editorial Comment - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (D+C)
  15. Editorial Comment - Out of Town
  16. Editorial Comment - Rochester Times-Union
  17. Ethnic Groups - Rochester
  18. Hoover Report
  19. Housing
  20. Human Relations - NAACP
  21. Interview Transcripts (W. Bub with anonymous person from local press)
  22. Letters to the editor
  23. Merchants Association
  24. National Magazine Stories
  25. National Politics - Statements
  26. News reports
  27. Other Riots
  28. Photographs from newspapers (photocopies)
  29. Police
  30. Police Advisory Board
  31. Police Advisory Board
  32. Riot
  33. Voter Registration
  34. Miscellaneous information
  35. William Bub Essays: "The Rochester Riots Viewed as Collective Behavior" and "Riot Editorial Responsibility"
  36. Gannett Publications
  37. Local Agencies' Publications
  38. Miscellaneous Copies
  39. Monroe County Human Relations Commission Publications
  40. Papers, Sermons and Essays on the Rochester Riots
  41. U.S. Government Publications
BOX 3: 1 BOOK, 30 AUDIO TAPES

Grimshaw, Allen Day. A Study in Social Violence: Urban Race Riots in the United States. PhD University of Pennsylvania 1959. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, Inc., 1965.

Audio tapes: 1-13 as numbered by William Bub

  1. Bub: Anonymous interview with man from downtown neighborhood (aproximately 30 minutes)
  2. Bub: Anonymous interview with journalist from local press (aproximately 30 minutes)
  3. Channel 13 newscasts from day of riots: includes commentary and interviews with 3 "negro leaders": Robert Morrison, president of Rochester chapter of the NAACP, Hannah Starrs CORE spokesperson, Constance Mitchell, 3rd Ward Supervisor (aproximately 45 minutes)
  4. Meeting of black group to evaluate riot, various speakers (2 hours)
  5. Analysis of situation..terrible sound quality, speaker and date unknown, two sides of tape (approximately 2 hours)
  6. Meeting of workers from Montgomery Neighborhood Center and Genessee Settlement House discussing efforts and programs already instituted and what more needs to be done (2 sides, 1 hour and 40 minutes)
  7. CBS newscast from August 17th, 1964: interview with black youth, a leader in the gang the 'Matadors' and participant in riot (4 minutes)
  8. Radio comments by 2 Monroe County Supervisors: 3rd Ward Supervisor Constance Mitchell and 7th Ward Supervisor Maxwell Walters
    1. Bub: Anonymous interview with black woman from community, 2 sides (1 hour 40 minutes) 81b: Bub: Anonymous inerview with woman, very poor sound (2 hours)
  9. Bub: Anonymous interview with African-American man, sound is poor (30 minutes)
  10. Bub: Anonymous interview with member of the working press (2 hours) good sound quality
  11. Interview with social worker at Baden Street Settlement House, two weeks after riot
  12. Side 1: Bub: Anonymous interview with member of "mass communications profession" (50 minutes) Side 2: Bub: Anonymous interview with another member of mass media (50 minutes)
  13. Bub: Anonymous interview with member of "communications business" (45 minutes)
  14. Newscasts: includes statements by city manager Porter Homer on state of emergency and curfew,helicopter crash (16 minutes)
  15. Newscast of helicopter crash during '64 riot, WRVM news (3 minutes)
  16. Recording of WOKR Channel 13 film: includes statements by Robert Morrison, president of Rochester branch of NAACP, Porter Homer, city manager, Mayor Frank Lamb, Governor Rockefeller, sound is difficult at times (50 minutes)
  17. Bub: Anonymous interview with telephone company employee, poor sound (3 minutes)
  18. blank -discarded
  19. blank - discarded
  20. "Mobilization for Youth" discussion by Rochester professionals on delinquency prevention,not directly related to riots or issues of race, good sound, two sides (2 hours)
  21. Side 1: Youth Board meeting with Bub and others, not related to the riot Side 2: Bub: Anonymous interview with man (identified on tape box as Howard Logan) (c 1 hour)
  22. Side 1: blank (break part way through tape) Side 2: first half of tape is blank. On either side of tape break is material but dialogue comes out backwards (apparently taped on multi-track machine?) Tape box reads "Riot? Judge Healy?"
6 tapes remain in metal boxes. They are a different size than the other tapes and have not been processed due to lack of a tape player that can work with these tapes. Tapes are not labelled.

BOX 4: INDEX CARDS (814) OF RIOT ARRESTS, ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY BY NAME WITH ADDRESS AND CHARGES WITH SOME DISPOSITIONS

PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM

48 black and white photographs of the riot and aftermath

PACKAGE

Life Magazine (March 8, 1968) includes article "Race and Poverty" Sepia (November 1965) includes articles on the Los Angeles riots