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A look back at the ’64 riots
by Doug Emblidge
Channel 13 anchor Dick Burt toured Joseph Avenue the day after the riots began, describing the destruction, the looted stores, and debris in the streets.
The night before, an arrest at a street party near the corner of Nassau and Joseph sparked the unrest that would grow out of control.
Events of the night, and several nights to follow, took many white Rochestarians by surprise.
But people living in the neighborhood say the inner city had become a pressure cooker, frustration over unemployment and lack of decent low-income housing had been building.
20 years after the riots, a woman who remembered the riots also remembered what it was like for blacks searching for work in 1964 it was if they were still in slavery.
Constance Mitchell, the first black and first woman elected to the Monroe County Board of Supervisors, felt the sting of discrimination first hand.
I received two anonymous phone calls informing me that I, along with other n*****s, had to get out of town and that if I didnt, my house was going to be blown up, says Mitchell
Police Chief William Lombard, whose car was overturned, said he was frustrated by the riots because he believed progress on race relations was being made.
Mayor Frank Lamb appealed for calm.
There is little doubt the riots changed Rochester. But 50 years later, its still fair to ask how.