This Day in History – August 10th, 1827

In April of 2001, Cincinnati, Ohio experienced a four day race riot after the shooting of 19-year-old Timothy Thomas by a Cincinnati Police officer. Unfortunately this was not the first time that the “Queen City” experienced a race related riot; in fact, this was the eleventh since 1792.

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It was, however, the second Cincinnati race riot that erupted on August 10th, 1827 when tensions between the Irish-American and African-American communities reached boiling point. Throughout the 1820’s fugitive slaves and African immigrants increased the African-American population of Cincinnati from around 400 to over 2,000 (10% of Cincinnati’s population at the time). Many Irish-Americans felt threatened by this growing demographic that posing increased competition for Cincinnati jobs.

1827 Black LadyThe response of the city was to require blacks to post bonds or they would be expelled from the town and from Ohio. Emboldened by this move, gangs of white Cincinnatians began to attack Cincinnati blacks and destroyed their property. Until the end of August 1827, the city did little to nothing to protect its black citizens, and by the time the rioting came to an end about 1,000 African-Americans had fled to Canada to form a colony of free blacks.

The initial arrangement between Israel Lewis and Thomas Crissup envisaged the purchase of 4,000 acres for $6000, to be paid by November 1830. But the number of colonists expected to support that purchase could not be immediately achieved, and the financial resources of the initial colonists could not support that arrangement. Appeals were made for further support. Attempts in Cincinnati and pleas to the Ohio state legislature were in vain. But an appeal to the Quakers was successful, and on September 20, 1830, James Brown and Stephen Duncan purchased 400 acres that became known as the Wilberforce Colony.

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