Harlem Riot 1935,

Harlem, New York
March 19, 1935

Agencies: New York Police Department NYPD

Cause of death: Not Yet Known

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Last updated: almost 6 years ago


One man was dead early today and three were expected to die as armed bands of [African-American] and white guerillas, swinging crowbars and clubs, roamed through barricaded Harlem from 110th to 145th St., assaulting every person of opposite color to cross their paths, setting fires and smashing shop windows after a night of fighting, in a bitter continuation of Harlem’s worst race riot in twenty-five years.

A false report spread by an organized group of radicals that Lino Rivera, a 16-year [black] boy, had been fatally injured in the Kress store on 125th St., between Seventh and Eighth Aves., started the riot there at 4:30 P.M.

Rivera had been reprimanded for stealing a 10 cent knife. He left the store before the rumors spread and in a mixup of police records his correct address was lost. Police could not produce him to stop the inflammatory story that he had been killed.

While search for the boy was pressed throughout the night, scores of white and [African-American] men and women were injured, at least thirty-six seriously on the mob-mad streets of Harlem.

When young Rivera was finally found shortly before 2 A.M., the rioting had gone too far out of control to attempt to stop it by his mere appearance.

More than 4,000 angry men and women, unaware that the boy had been found unharmed, were still on the streets shortly before dawn. The list of injured continued to mount and more deaths were feared. Fully 700 police patrolled Harlem last night.