1969: Racial Tensions Erupt Into Violence

The summer of 1969 was full of high racial tensions in Middletown, Connecticut. In the mid-sixties, there was a rise of what were considered militant Black activist groups. The white Middletown community followed in the steps of much of the United States and reacted with fear. On the night of June 27th, these tensions began to culminate. Three white men assaulted a young black man as they were driving through an East Main Street neighborhood. This was followed by an incident at the Middletown Shopping Plaza on Washington Street, in which a white youth was stabbed. Violence escalated through the following two nights.

From The Bridgeport Post, Friday, June 27, 1969:

Big Disturbance in Middletown

Middletown, Conn. (AP)–Three persons were arrested in what police termed a “large disturbance” on South Main Street Thursday night.

One person was stabbed and another suffered a broken elbow before the crowd was dispersed.

Police broke up a crowd of black and white youths at a shopping plaza on Washington Street, but the black youngsters reassembled at the south end of Main Street, about a mile away. Several store windows on Main Street were smashed.

An emergency was declared by Police Chief Vincent Marino, and all off-duty officers were recalled to duty. The disturbance was over before midnight.

Story contributed by Kimberly Singh.

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