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Topics in Chronicling America - New York City Race Riot, August 1900

Racial tensions erupt into a full-fledged riot after patrolman Robert Thorpe is murdered in a street scuffle by “colored man Arthur Harris.” In the ensuing chaos hordes of angry white citizens beat and murder Negroes under the supervision of the police--with no legal ramifications. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


Cartoon from the New-York Tribune, August 19, 1900, Page 9, Image 9, depicting a Tammany police cat, swinging a billy club, and an injured black man in the background.

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • August 13, 1900, 2 am. In New York City, Robert J. Thorpe, a white plain-clothes policeman, is stabbed by Arthur Harris, a black man, during a fight.
  • August 14, 1900. Thorpe dies.
  • August 15, 1900. Large crowds gather and rioting begins with reports of police brutality.
  • August 16, 1900. Harris is arrested in Washington, DC; rioting continues; more blacks are injured.
  • August 17, 1900. Rioting ends.
  • August 17-Dec. 1900. Accusations of police brutality continue. Tammany Hall is accused of corruption related to the riot.
  • Dec. 8, 1900. Official report of the Committee of Rules and Discipline of the Police Board is released; no police are found at fault.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Race Riot, New York, West Side, Robert J. Thorpe, Arthur Harris, Police, Tammany.
  • To narrow results, search between August 13, 1900 and December 9, 1900.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  December 11, 2014
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