Crowd in Harlem chants and taunts police on Lenox Avenue, 1964
Stanley Wolfson, photographer
New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, Library of Congress
The Harlem Riot of 1964 occurred after James Powell, a 15-year-old African American from Harlem, was shot dead by an off-duty New York City Police Lieutenant named Thomas Gilligan on July 16, 1964. On July 18, residents gathered at a Harlem police precinct to demand justice. When tactical officers tried to force the crowd back, a violent confrontation erupted. The ensuing riot lasted five days.
An estimated 500 people were injured in the rioting, one man was killed and 485 men and women were arrested. Gilligan, who maintained Powell pulled a knife on him, was cleared of any wrongdoing.