150th Anniversary Of New York City Draft Riots: A Disgraceful Moment In NYC History!

150 years ago, starting on July 13 and raging until July 16, New York City saw the worst rioting that had ever occurred up to that time, in the third year of the Civil War, due to the passing of a draft law by the US government, requiring the first ever military draft for all able boded men, unless they were wealthy enough to pay the government $300 to avoid service.

The Irish immigrants in New York City, among the poorest of all ethnic groups in the city, who could not afford the $300 fee, rioted and burned and destroyed, and sadly, set about to kill and lynch African Americans living in the city, blaming them for the Civil War.

At least eleven black men were lynched, but estimates go much higher, and the total loss of life is estimated as being at least 120 but potentially more, with at least 100 blacks being murdered in total.

At least 2,000 people were wounded, and possibly more, and property damage would be estimated in modern terms as at least $75 million. The film GANGS OF NEW YORK portrayed these events in a very dramatic way, and estimated much higher numbers of killed and wounded, and even higher property damage.

Blacks were forced to leave their residences by their landlords, afraid of bloodshed and property damage, and many left the city forever, and never returned, relocating elsewhere!

This was a horrible example of racial violence that has stained the history of New York City, and now, at the 150th anniversary of these terrible events, it becomes clear that racial harmony, racial justice, racial equality has NOT made as much progress as one would like to believe!