October 4, 2006 5:54 AM Subscribe
Peekskill Riots The Peekskill Riots were anti-communist riots (with anti-black undertones) in the city of Peekskill, New York in 1949. The catalyst for the rioting was an announced concert by black singer Paul Robeson, who was well known for his strong stand on civil rights and his communist sympathies. The concert, organized as a benefit for the Civil Rights Congress, was scheduled to take place on August 27. Before Robeson arrived, a mob of locals attacked concertgoers...many names you might recall were involved in this blot on American history, and Howard Fast, the novelist, recalled his involvement in his book Being Red (1990), Howard Fast's memoir of his life on the left. Additionally, some later writers recalled the involvement of relatives and/or friends.. Pete Seeger, present during the riot, wrote a song about it Later, gathering some of the rocks tossed at the lefty participants of the concert, he used the "ammo" to build a chimney on the cabin where he lived. The Lefty -sympathizing wonderful actress Judy Holliday was summoned before the congressional committe in charge of rooting out communists during the anti-communist days, and gave a lengthy testimony about herself and many others. And though the riots were sparked in part by local newspapers, editoriallizing against the "visitors" to their serene area, they and the good citizens of Peekskill quickly tried to ignore, forget, or bury lthe disgraceful riots. But the memory lives on for some, and this sad event remains memorialized, a reminder perhaps of what hate, aggression, and just plain nastiness can bring about.
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments