1964 – Malcolm X founded the Organization for Afro American Unity to seek independence for blacks in the Western Hemisphere.


Malcolm X, OAAU foundation rally, Audubon Ballroom, New York City, 1964

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The Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) was founded by Malcolm XJohn Henrik Clarke, and other black nationalist leaders on June 24, 1964 in Harlem, New York. Formed shortly after his break with the Nation of Islam, the OAAU was a secular institution that sought to unify 22 million non-Muslim African Americans with the people of the African Continent. The OAAU was modeled after the Organization of African Unity (OAU), a coalition of 53 African nations working to provide a unified political voice for the continent. In the coalition spirit of the OAU, Malcolm X sought to reconnect African Americans with their African heritage, establish economic independence, and promote African American self-determination. He also sought OAAU representation on the OAU.

The OAAU was designed to encompass all peoples of African origin in the Western hemisphere, as well those on the African continent. Malcolm X insisted that progress for African Americans was intimately tied to progress in Africa, and outlined a platform of five fronts for this progress called “The Basic Unity Program.” This program called for Restoration, Reorientation, Education, Economic Security, and Self-Defense as a means of promoting Pan-African unity and interests. With a strong focus on education as the primary means of repairing the damages of slavery, economic discrimination, and physical violence directed towards African Americans, the OAAU hoped to foster pan-African consciousness. Among the more controversial positions taken by the OAAU was the suggestion that leaders of African states held more legitimate political power for African Americans than did the American government.

At the founding conference, Malcolm X stressed the importance of escaping terms like “negro,” “integration,” or “emancipation,” insisting that such language was inherently pejorative and antithetical to the ideology of the OAAU. The OAAU called for African American-run institutions within the black community as well as increased participation in mainstream politics. In order to keep the OAAU strictly in African American hands, Malcolm X insisted that there be no monetary donations from non-African sources. The organization also refused membership to whites.

After Malcolm X was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom on February 19, 1965, the fledgling movement died. Malcolm’s half-sister Ella Collins took over the OAAU, but without his charismatic leadership, most members deserted the organization. Nonetheless the OAAU became the inspiration for hundreds of “black power” groups that emerged during the next decade.

1943 – Race-related rioting erupted in Detroit. Federal troops were sent in two days later to end the violence that left more than 30 dead – June 21st remembered


Pulling a man off a streetcar, Detroit Riot, 1943

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The Detroit Riot of 1943 lasted only about 24 hours from 10:30 on June 20 to 11:00 p.m. on June 21; nonetheless, it was considered one of the worst riots during the World War II era.  Several contributing factors revolved around police brutality, and the sudden influx of black migrants from the south into the city, lured by the promise of jobs in defense plants.  The migrants faced an acute housing shortage which many thought would be reduced by the construction of public housing.  However the construction of public housing for blacks in predominately white neighborhoods often created racial tension.

The Sojourner Truth Homes Riot in 1942, for example, began when whites were enraged by the opening of that project in their neighborhood.  Mobs attempted to keep the black residents from moving into their new homes.  That confrontation laid the foundation for the much larger riot one year later.

On June 20, a warm Saturday evening, a fist fight broke out between a black man and a white man at the sprawling Belle Isle Amusement Park in the Detroit River.  The brawl eventually grew into a confrontation between groups of blacks and whites, and then spilled into the city.  Stores were looted, and buildings were burned in the riot, most of which were located in a black neighborhood.  The riot took place in an area of roughly two miles in and around Paradise Valley, one of the oldest and poorest neighborhoods in Detroit, Michigan.

As the violence escalated, both blacks and whites engaged in violence.  Blacks dragged whites out of cars and looted white-owned stores in Paradise Valley while whites overturned and burned black-owned vehicles and attacked African Americans on streetcars along Woodward Avenue and other major streets.  The Detroit police did little in the rioting, often siding with the white rioters in the violence.

The violence ended only after President Franklin Roosevelt, at the request of Detroit Mayor Edward Jeffries, Jr., ordered 6,000 federal troops into the city.  Twenty-five blacks and nine whites were killed in the violence.  Of the 25 African Americans who died, 17 were killed by the police.  The police claimed that these shootings were justified since the victims were engaged in looting stores on Hastings Street.  Of the nine whites who died, none were killed by the police.  The city suffered an estimated $2 million in property damages.

1968 The Stonewall Riots begin in NYC’s Greenwich Village


Sometime after midnight on June 28, 1969, in what is now regarded by many as history’s first major protest on behalf of equal rights for LGBTQ people, a police raid of the Stonewall Inn—a popular gay club located on New York City‘s Christopher Street—turns violent as patrons and local sympathizers begin rioting against the authorities.

READ MORE: What Happened at the Stonewall Riots? A Timeline of the 1969 Uprising

Citation Information

Article Title

The Stonewall Riots begin in NYC’s Greenwich Village

AuthorHistory.com Editors

Website Name

HISTORY

URL

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-stonewall-riot

Access Date

June 27, 2022

Publisher

A&E Television Networks

Last Updated

June 27, 2022

Original Published Date

October 18, 2010