This Day in History

Jan. 13, 1874: The New York City Tompkins Square Riot

Time Periods: Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876
Themes: Labor

The New York City Tompkins Square Riot occurred on Jan. 13, 1874 during a devastating economic depression.

Illustration of January 13, 1874 riot in Frank Leslie’s newspaper on Jan. 31. Source: Library of Congress.

A demonstration was held to lobby for public works projects to provide jobs and police attacked.

Howard Zinn quotes a newspaper:

Police clubs rose and fell. Women and children ran screaming in all directions. Many of them were trampled underfoot in the stampede for the gates. In the street bystanders were ridden down and mercilessly clubbed by mounted officers.

This is one of many stories of worker protests during this period, described in detail in A People’s History of the United States, Chapter 10: The Other Civil War.