Lombard Street Riot!

Lombard Street Riot
Not numbered. Philadelphia County Visited: December 21, 2017 Plaque?  YES! 🙂
What is it? A blue and yellow marker in eastern Philadelphia!
What makes it historical? THE PLAQUE SAYS: Here on August 1, 1842 an angry mob of whites attacked a parade celebrating Jamaican Emancipation Day. A riot ensued. African Americans were beaten and their homes looted. The rioting lasted for 3 days. A local church & abolition meeting place were destroyed by fire.

OTHER TIDBITS: Emancipation of slaves in the territories of the British Empire was a slow process. The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 only applied to slave children under six years of age, and wasn’t enforced until August 1, 1834. The rest of the slaves didn’t get their freedom until July 31, 1838, but since then (except between 1962 and 1998) the nation of Jamaica has celebrated August 1 as Emancipation Day!

Slow though it may have been, the slaves of the British Empire were still freed 25 years before the Emancipation Proclamation, and 1838 happened to be the year that Pennsylvania stripped freed slaves of their rights to vote. Yet, despite all of that, this wasn’t a riot begun by slave owners or pro-slavery activists; it was a clash between two groups that American society had pushed to the bottom rungs of its class system!

Specifically, it was a mob of Irish immigrants, whose Catholicism was widely despised by Protestant Americans, and who were fighting for the same low-end jobs as free African-Americans, who had been streaming across the Mason-Dixon Line into Philadelphia. Despite their similar struggles for success, the Irish refused to work with African-Americans, so when they saw a celebration of black freedom, led by the Young Men’s Vigilant Association, they attacked!

Despite the damage to property, the expense of rallying the local militia, and the injuries that were never officially calculated, the mayor refused to charge most of the riot organizers, who either escaped with a not guilty verdict or a light sentence!

How can I Help the Helpers? HERE’S HOW:

  • Go to work for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission!
  • Buy something from shopPAheritage!
  • Be a responsible visitor! Please respect the signs and pathways, and treat all structures and artifacts with respect. They’ve endured a lot to survive into the present. They’ll need our help to make it into the future!
  • the future!

How do I find it? Listed Directions:
SE corner of S 6th & Lombard Sts.
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Yup! That’s correct!

From Harrisburg: ~108mi (174km) — 1.8hrs
From Philadelphia: ~1mi (2km) — 0.1hrs
From Pittsburgh: ~306mi (493km) — 5.1hrs
From Scranton: ~126mi (203km) — 2.1hrs

When should I go? Whenever the mood strikes you!

Click here to see more Pennsylvania historical landmarks!

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