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Wed, 08.12.1835

Snow Race Riot occurs

*On this date in 1835, the Snow Race Riot occurred. This was a riot and lynching that took place in Washington, D.C.

It was an attack on free blacks in the city by whites, the Snow Riot wreaked havoc on anything affiliated with free blacks for days by robbing and destroying all of their establishments. The name of the riot comes from one of the first destinations the mob attacked, the restaurant owned by a free black man. It was Beverly Snow's Epicurean Eating House. The riot began because of unsubstantiated news that Anna Maria Thornton (a white socialite) was reportedly assaulted by a young ax-wielding Negro slave in her F Street home in August 1835.

The incident set off Washington's first race riot. After attacking the restaurant, the mob destroyed the school, because he was suspected of teaching the abolition of slavery there. The larger context of the attack on the school was the white working-class men's frustration over free blacks' ability to work, and their resentment of black competition for jobs. The clear result was the unleashing of white terror against blacks. The riot continued for days in the nation's capital, and it was not until President Andrew Jackson intervened that it stopped.


the Washington Post

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