Date of Award

Spring 1992

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 1992 Jesse S. Connors. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Black Studies Program, History Department

First Advisor

Hilliard Pouncy


Springfield Riot, 1908: Two Black Men Lynched; Four Killed; More Than Seventy Injured… East Saint Louis Riot, 1917: Thirty-Nine Blacks Murdered; Hundreds Wounded; One Million Dollars in Property Destroyed… Detroit Riot, 1943: Twenty-five of Thirty-four Killed Were Black; Seventeen of the Twenty-five Were Killed By Police… Watts Riot, 1965: Thirty-five Killed; Over One Thousand Injured; More Than Forty Million Dollars in Property Lost… Miami Riot, 1980: Fifteen Dead Over Three Days; Over One Hundred Million Dollars in Property Damage… Those are the chilling statistics of a mere handful of the race riots which have devastated America in the twentieth century. Is there a connection between any or all of these riots? Determining any correlation between race riots is a vexing problem which has perplexed psychologists, sociologists and historians alike. One faces the overwhelming historical problems of pinpointing and understanding the causes of each riot before relating the riots to one another. In addition, with such racially and emotionally charged issues, it is hard to locate and determine the most unbiased, valid sources and accounts. With this in mind, the purpose of this paper is to understand the possibility of a striking pattern of the recurrence of race riots in America during the twentieth century. Moreover, the thesis is to ultimately reach some enlightening conclusions as to what the most valid and reasonable causes are for this recurrence. Methodology includes investigative study.


Race Riots, Race Relations, Police Brutality, Systemic Racism