Cambridge Riots of 1963

Gloria Richardson, local leader of the Cambridge movement, pushes away the bayonet of a National Guard officer

“The Cambridge Riots of 1963, were race riots that occurred during the summer of 1963 in Cambridge, Maryland, a small town on the Eastern Shore. 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. By January, Baltimore’s Civic Interest Group (CIG) – an affiliate of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) – begins organizing sit-ins and freedom rides in towns along Maryland’s Eastern Shore. When SNCC organizers arrive in Cambridge, demonstrations are organized downtown to demand desegregation of local businesses. The Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee (CNAC) is founded soon after these initial demonstrations to support and continue local protests. Governor J. Millard Tawes urges the Maryland General Assembly to pass an anti-discrimination bill aimed at ending prejudice in establishments throughout the state, though the effort is hampered when Eastern Shore legislators push to allow counties to exempt themselves from enforcement of the bill. By the close of the summer of 1962, most establishments in Cambridge are still segregated, with CNAC-led protests dwindling as school resumes for its student members. Demonstrations by the CNAC resume at the end of March, when a local movie theater expands its discriminatory practices by relegating African-Americans to the back rows of the balcony instead of the entire balcony, as had been done previously. This escalation motivates leaders of both the CNAC and CIG to meet with city officials to discuss the desegregation of public accommodations, equal employment opportunities, and fair housing for African-Americans but their demands go unmet. … CNAC demonstrations continue in mid-May, with many of them led by high school students Dwight Cromwell and Dinez White, both 15, who are later charged with ‘disorderly conduct’ after being arrested while praying peacefully outside of a segregated facility.  … On June 14, several white-owned businesses in the Second Ward – a predominately African-American section of town – are set on fire and gunfire is exchanged between white and African-American citizens, resulting in casualties. 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. …”
Washington Post: SUMMER OF FIRE
Baltimore Magazine
W – Gloria Richardson
July 1963 – Treaty of Cambridge
YouTube: Gloria Richardson took a more radical approach than many of her male counterparts

Robert Kennedy and Gloria Richardson at a press conference, July 1963.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Civil Rights Mov., Feminist, Poverty, Race Riots, Rob. Kennedy, SNCC and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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