1964 Philadelphia race riot

1964 Philadelphia race riot
DateAugust 28 - 30, 1964
Caused byAllegations of police brutality
Methodsrioting, looting, arson
Parties to the civil conflict
Black residents of North Philadelphia

The Philadelphia race riot took place in the predominantly black neighborhoods of North Philadelphia from August 28 to August 30, 1964. Tensions between black residents of the city and police had been escalating for several months over several well-publicized allegations of police brutality.[1]

This riot was one of the first in the civil rights era and followed the 1964 Rochester race riot and Harlem riot of 1964 in New York City.


In 1964, North Philadelphia was the city's center of African American culture, and home to 400,000 of the city's 600,000 black residents.[2] The Philadelphia Police Department had tried to improve its relationship with the city's black community assigning police to patrol black neighborhoods in teams of one black and one white officer per squad car and having a civilian review board to handle cases of police brutality.[2]

Despite the improvement attempts of the Philadelphia Police Department, racial tensions had been high in Philadelphia over the issue of police brutality. The Philadelphia Tribune, the city’s black newspaper, ran several articles on police brutality which often resulted in white policemen being brought up on charges of brutality, only to be later acquitted.[3] The summer of 1964 however was at the peak of the civil rights movement with rioting breaking out in black areas of other northern cities such as New York, Rochester, Jersey City and Elizabeth[2] caused by incidents relating to police brutality against black citizens.

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Simple English: Philadelphia race riot