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The urban riots of the 1960s were catalyzing events: a violent coda to an earlier period of attempts at peaceful revolution and change. The devastation of the disturbances and the underlying causes continue to haunt our cities and the psyche of the nation. In a preface to the Kerner Commission Report, Tom Wicker wrote that the riots and the rioters were the personification of our “nation’s shame, of its deepest failure and its greatest challenge.” More recent events including riots following the arrest of Rodney King and racial violence in Benton Harbor, Michigan only serve to prove Wicker’s contention that resolving the economic and social inequities that are, in many ways at the core of urban mob violence, remains a challenge for America.
The materials covered in this guide – books, journal articles, and websites – focus on the riots and subsequent events. The bibliography is not comprehensive but focused instead on those items that are readily available to faculty and students through the Thurgood Marshall Law Library. Please contact the library if you have specific research questions.
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You may find materials relevant to this topic by keyword searching our catalog below, using terms such as: riots and police-community relations.