Peekskill Riots

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The Peekskill Riots were a series of anti-communist riots fought near the town of Peekskill, New York in 1949. They were instigated near communistic black singer Paul Robeson's concert. Before the concert began, those in attendance were attacked by a mob. The concert was rescheduled and expanded to include other leftist singers such as Pete Seeger.

While the rescheduled concert was without incident, the aftermath was not. As people departed, anti-communist agitators formed a gauntlet and battered vehicles—throwing rocks and attacking cars. Many were injured and significant damage was done to vehicles. The police, who were present, did not interfere. Three hundred of the assaulted parties attempted to lodge complaint to the governor, Thomas Dewey. He refused to meet with them, blaming them for the violence.

Cathleen White said that the incident became a rallying point for many activists of the period.[1]


  1. The Peekskill Riots by Cathleen White