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Mon, 08.19.1991

The Crown Heights Riots Occur

*On this date in 1991, the Crown Heights riot occurred. The deaths of Melbourne Hasidic scholar Yankel Rosenbaum and Black seven-year-old Gavin Cato that day ignited one of the worst three days of race riots ever seen in New York.

Gavin Cato was adjusting the chain on his bicycle on a Crown Heights street when a car being driven by a Hasidic man struck him. The man said he accidentally mounted the footpath while trying to catch up to a motorcade for a Jewish leader.  The boy died instantly.  News of the accident spread quickly through the Brooklyn Black community, sparking rioting and looting. Yankel Rosenbaum was visiting New York to pursue his rabbinical studies.

A group of Black men attacked him on the streets of Crown Heights after the accident.  Witnesses said the men shouted, "Get the Jew!" as one of them stabbed Rosenbaum. The 29-year-old Melbourne scholar died the following day from an undetected injury in the hospital emergency room.  Sentencing in the case took place in March 1998.

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

Black is what the prisons are, The stagnant vortex of the hours Swept into totality, Creeping in the perjured heart, Bitter in the vulgar rhyme, Bitter on the walls; Black is where the devils... THE AFRICAN AFFAIR by Bruce M. Wright.
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