Division Street riots


“The Division Street riots were episodes of rioting and civil unrest, which started on June 12 and continued through June 14, 1966. These riots are remembered as a turning point in Puerto Rican civic involvement in Chicago. This was the first riot in the United States attributed to Puerto Ricans.  Puerto Rican migration to Chicago peaked in the 1950s and 60s, and the Puerto Rican population of Chicago jumped from 255 in 1950 to 32,371 in 1960. Puerto Ricans in Chicago worked low-paying jobs in the service industries or labored in factories. This was in part because of the recruitment efforts of Castle, Barton and Associates, an employment agency. They offered domestic and foundry work contracts, and paid the airfare for Puerto Ricans coming to Chicago. Another factor behind Puerto Rican migration to Chicago was the unemployment and harsh economic conditions created by Operation Bootstrap.  Some of the new Puerto Rican arrivals settled in Chicago’s north side, specifically in Lincoln Park. But by the late 1960s, gentrification took hold in Lincoln Park, and working class Puerto Ricans were displaced by high property taxes and expensive housing. Around the city, some Puerto Ricans faced housing discrimination based on their skin color and ethnicity. Many moved west, settling near Division Street in West Town, Bucktown, and Wicker Park. The Chicago Catholic Church did not offer the Puerto Rican community their own parish, so devout Puerto Ricans had to try to attend existing parishes. … Puerto Ricans faced racial discrimination, class-related hardships, and lived on the margins of a city that only valued them for their cheap labor. …  In 1966, Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley declared the first week of June to be ‘Puerto Rican Week.’ On June 12, 1966, Puerto Ricans celebrated the culmination of this week, and their first ethnic parade in downtown Chicago, held on June 11. In the evening, on Division Street in West Town and Humboldt Park, an altercation began between police and revelers near Damen Avenue and Division Street. Police alleged that Arcelis Cruz, a young Puerto Rican man, was armed and involved in a street fight. … As the riot began, a local Spanish-language radio personality, Carlos Agrelot, was broadcasting live, describing the scene on Division Street. His coverage of the violence and protest attracted more people to the streets, even people from other neighborhoods. On the second day of the riot, community organization leaders and clergymen organized a rally. At this rally, organizers urged the crowd of 3,000 Puerto Ricans to end the violence. …”
Wikipedia
Spanish Coalition for Housing
Division Street in Humboldt Park Puerto Ricans rioted
Recollections: 1966 Division Street Riot
vimeo: 50th Anniversary of the 1966 Division Street Riots in Chicago, Illinois


June 12 1966: Smoke rises from burning squad car as a crowd surrounds it during riots in Humboldt Park. The 2-day riot began after Chicago police pursuing a young man shot him in the leg at Damen and Division streets. Chicago’s first Puerto Rican Day parade was held earlier that same day.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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