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Start of Harlem Riot

Date 1943
Location New York Harlem New York United States
Dimensions Image: 10 11/16 x 12 15/16 in. (27.1 x 32.9 cm)
Paper: 11 1/8 x 14 in. (28.3 x 35.6 cm)
Mat: 20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61 cm)
Framed: 20 11/16 x 24 11/16 in. (52.5 x 62.7 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver

On August 1, 1943, weeks after the race riots in Detroit, Harlem erupted in violence after rumors circulated that a white police officer had killed an African American man who was trying to protect his mother. In reality, Robert Bandy, an off-duty military officer, stole officer James Collins's nightstick and hit him with it when Collins attempted to arrest an African American woman in a Harlem hotel. Bandy fled and Collins fired one shot, hitting him in the arm. Both men were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Amid these rumors of murder and police brutality, Harlem residents took to the streets and began looting shops. Six thousand white police officers flooded the neighborhood, traffic was diverted, bars and liquor stores closed, and a 10:30 p.m. curfew was enforced. Police battled residents for two days, killing five men and arresting over 500 people.


© International Center of Photography
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Credit line

Bequest of Wilma Wilcox, 1993

Feedback Accession No. 14672.1993