The administration attempted to downplay the mini-riot by referring to it as an “incident,” but the undercurrent of anger was there and no public relations machine was going to dissipate it. At the conclusion of every summer, the administration congratulated themselves on another riot free summer, proof positive that their social programs were working.
But beneath the rosy headlines the veneer of civility which the Model City image exuded had worn down, and now the hostility was beginning to show through. Cavanagh’s star, which once shone brightly in the black community, had now dimmed considerably. A Kercheval resident echoed these sentiments about the mayor. “Him and that urban renewal. Man, they steal my house, put those peckerwoods [whites] in it, then tell you to move to some worse house 200 years old. I’m tired of running, tired of being pushed. There’s no place else to go. I hope to God it breaks out full scale. If I die, I’d rather die for something.”