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Thu, 07.20.1967

The Minneapolis Riot Occurs

National Guard Troops Patroling

*On this date in 1967, the Minneapolis Riot occurred. This uprising was one of the 159 riots that swept across cities in the United States during the “long, hot summer of 1967”.

The reported origins vary from the police mishandling a teen dispute over a wig to a pre-meditated plot by Stokely Carmichael. Widespread violence, including rock and bottle-throwing at law enforcement and fires set to businesses along Plymouth Avenue, quickly engulfed the area and lasted three days. The southern portion of the United States was protesting the unequal treatment of African Americans in business, politics, education, and housing, resulting in rippling effects across the nation. Soon, civil uprisings extended outside the southern states. Cities like Boston, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis experienced similar racial tensions that erupted in violence.

At the time, North Minneapolis was known for its Jewish-American and African American communities. Before 1960, restrictive housing guidelines prevented the working-class African American and Jewish communities from residing in certain parts of Minneapolis. Because of this, the two marginalized communities found common ground in North Minneapolis, where they built businesses, friendships, and families. After World War II, societal opinions toward the Jewish American community shifted away from antisemitism, and job opportunities for Jewish citizens outside of North Minneapolis became available.

The black community did not receive similar treatment. This imbalance created fissures between the two communities. Between the growing American Civil Rights movements and rising tensions in North Minneapolis, a riot erupted in 1966. During this time, a community center called ‘The Way’ was established on Plymouth Avenue, the cultural and business hub of North Minneapolis. This center became a nucleus for neighborhood extracurricular activity, including meetings and music. It was also known as the hub for community activism in North Minneapolis. The period of unrest was short-lived. It resulted in arson and looting.

Arthur Naftalin, mayor of Minneapolis, petitioned Minnesota Governor Harold LeVander for assistance from the Minnesota National Guard. After three days of demonstration, there were 26 arrests, 24 injured, and no deaths. Damage to public and private property totaled $4.2 million.



Image: Minnesota Historical Society

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