The Crown Heights Riot of 1991

Topics: Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Judaism, Crown Heights riot Pages: 4 (1317 words) Published: October 22, 2008
Sara Kamali
History 115
Professor Mintz
Paper #2

The Crown Heights Riot of 1991

Anti-Semitism has been prevalent throughout the world since the establishment of the Jewish religion and unfortunately, traces of it can still be found to this day in the United States. What exactly is anti-Semitism? It is the intense dislike for and prejudice against the Jews; it can range anywhere from simple opposition to the Jews to vicious hatred displayed through physical torment. Some examples of the more publicized cases of violence against the Jews include the attack of Irish workers and police on the “funeral procession of Rabbi Jacob Joseph in New York City in 1902, the lynching of Leo Frank in 1915, the assassination of Alan Berg in 1984, as well as the Crown Heights riots of 1991. I have chosen to discuss the Crown Heights riots of 1991 simply because I believe the events are more recent and therefore, hold themselves to be more valid and up to date with the anti-sentiment shown towards the Jews today.

The Crown Heights Riot was a three-day riot in the Crown Heights neighborhood of New York City that started on August 19,1991. To this day, we do not know the cause of the riots, what ignited the rioters or what the hidden meaning behind the actual incident was. Many deem this controversial riot as purely an anti-Semitic outburst, even calling it the “Crown Heights pogrom” (1). Besides anti-Semitism, anti-police sentiment was also displayed during this riot. What amazes me the most about this incident is that the events that led up to these riots, its legacy, and its record of ever happening have been politically and socially altered to meet everyone’s assertion. Background information allows us to see that tensions existed in the neighborhood on behalf of both parties; the Hasidic and African-Americans. “‘Some Jews were afraid to go into black parts of the neighborhood because of fear of getting mugged or shot; some blacks saw Jews as ‘taking over’...
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