Lt. Governor Bob Duffy remembers the riots in Rochester 50 years ago

Updated: 07/24/2014 6:20 AM
Created: 07/23/2014 5:00 AM WHEC.com

Thursday and Friday have been designated as days of remembrance and recommitment. Mayor Lovely Warren made the proclamation in honor of the anniversary of the Rochester Riots.

Fifty years ago today, a three day riot broke out on Joseph Avenue and Nassau Street. By the time peace was restored, four people had been killed and nearly 1,000 people were arrested. The damage totaled more than a million dollars. 

The riots started when police arrested a 19-year-old for public intoxication. He was attending a street dance fundraiser to build a new playground. Racial tensions were already building with many people frustrated with the lack of job opportunities, poor housing conditions and police brutality.

Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy was a kid and lived in the city during the riots. He recalls it as a tumultuous time in the city's history.

Bob Duffy, Lieutenant Governor, said, “I think that a message was being sent because, at that time, it was difficult time getting jobs and some of the big companies were not hiring. A lot of frustration boiled over. I think we've come a long way in the last 50 years in so many ways, but on a sad note I think we have some of the same issues and some of the same problems.”

Organizations like F.I.G.H.T, were born out of the riots. The group, including its leaders Franklin Florence and Raymond Scott, took on big businesses to help get several people to work. You’ll hear their story tonight on News10NBC at 5 and 6.

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