Cambridge Riots in the 60s



The Cambridge Race Riots of the 1960’s

“The Past: Our cradle, not our prison; there is danger as well as appeal in its glamour. The past is for inspiration, not imitation, for continuation, not repetition.”


From Wikipedia:

The Cambridge Riots of 1963, were race riots that occurred during the summer of 1963 in CambridgeMaryland, a small town on the Eastern Shore.[1] The riots emerged during the Civil Rights Movement, led by Gloria Richardson and the local chapter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and its opposition by pro-segregationist civilians and police.

Gloria Richardson, a graduate from Howard University helped establish organizations that addressed community concerns about civil rights. Richardson also was a key leader in promoting black pride. [4]

Governor Tawes declares martial law and deploys the Maryland National Guard to Cambridge after the CNAC refuses a year-long moratorium on protests. The guardsmen remain in the town for a 25-day period, from June 14 through July 8.[3]

On July 11 a clash between white and African-American civilians breaks out when six sit-in demonstrators at Dizzyland restaurant, one of the main targets of the CNACs summer-long integration campaign, are harassed and beaten by white patrons.[5] Tensions further increase when 250 African-Americans organize a “freedom walk” to the Dorchester County Court House that evening and are met by a crowd of 700 whites. The two groups are kept apart and eventually dispersed by the Maryland State Police. Cambridge remains quiet until 10 p.m., when two white men and a 12-year-old boy are wounded by shotgun fire near their homes and police bring eight African-American men into the police station for questioning.[6]

In the early morning hours of July 12, two carloads of white men drive through the Second Ward, exchanging gunfire with African-Americans. Police arrest five white men in their early 20s after the first exchange of gunfire in the African-American district.[6] Three National Guardsmen in a civilian car are injured when a gunshot blast punctures their windshield during the second round of gunfire between whites and African-Americans.[5] Law and order is reinstated around 2 a.m. on July 12 and Major George E. Davidson of the Maryland State Police recommends to Governor Tawes that full martial law be reinstated.

This immediately drew up feelings of sickness- -some people just wanna act like this sheer horror that took place not that long ago didn’t happen, and others don’t care to remember what lengths they went through to give us the freedoms we have now. Also, can we talk about Black women as leaders of the Civil Rights Movement instead of just background noise? As usual, their (our) work gets pushed to the margins of the little bit we choose to remember about our storied racist past and present. Gloria Richardson is a woman we should all aspire to be.