Former Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson: "Rochester has new challenges"

Updated: 07/23/2014 6:19 AM
Created: 07/22/2014 5:00 AM WHEC.com

Many gathered to remember the race riots in Rochester back in 1964 Tuesday night. Some leaders say we still have a long way to go. 

A special ceremony was held at Rochester City Hall to feature an exhibit with photos from that period in Rochester’s history. The images include police in riot gear, water hoses being used for crowd control and the chaos in the streets.

Many leaders we spoke with admit problems still exist, but point out there has been progress since the riots in July 1964. However, former Mayor Bill Johnson says there are new challenges, including the economy and poverty rates, which are among the worst in the country.

Bill Johnson, former Rochester mayor, said, “This city has also undergone tremendous economic transformation. The city is still rebounding from the loss of our major employers, like Xerox, Kodak, and Bausch and Lomb, that provided access to people who didn't have a large amount of education, but there were manufacturing jobs and they paid well. So there's less opportunity now then there was then.”

Later today, News10NBC talks with Constance Mitchell, who was on the Monroe County Board of Supervisors in 1964. She was the first African American woman elected to the position. You can watch her story tonight on News10NBC at 5 and 6.

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