Large avatar detroitriot1863

Detroit Riot 1863,
Detroit, Michigan
March 06, 1863

Agencies: Unspecified

Last updated: 7 months ago

Summary Help icon

On this day in 1863, a spectacular race riot rocks Detroit.

Occurring during the days of the American Civil War, the set of disturbances will be reported by the Detroit Free Press as “the bloodiest day that ever dawned upon Detroit.”

The spark that sets off the conflagration is unrest related to racism and the military draft. Blacks here have been serving on the Union side. At the end of the day, at least two innocent people are dead and dozens are beaten, most of whom are African-American.

One account alleges that an angry white mob attacked a home where African-American women and children were present, propelling black men to react with vengeance. The tragic event will result in the creation of a full-time police force.

The city’s population in 1860 was 45,619, only 1,402 of whom are African-American, according to public records.

Additional Resources: