146 years ago, the United States experienced the bloodiest riot in its history.
African Americans became scapegoats and the target of the rioters’ anger. Many immigrants and poor viewed freed slaves as competition for scarce jobs and African Americans as the reason why the civil war was being fought. African Americans who fell into the mob’s hands were often beaten, tortured, and/or killed, including one man that was attacked by a crowd of 400 with clubs and paving stones, then hung from a tree and set alight. The Colored Orphan Asylum on Fifth Avenue, which provided shelter for hundreds of children, was attacked by a mob. The police were able to secure the orphanage for enough time to allow orphans to escape.
The worst riot in American history was also its bloodiest race riot, where white working class whites in New York City tortured, beat, and killed any African-American they could lay their hands on.