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On a day where children should have been trick or treating, the Eastside section of Jacksonville, Fla. was the site of a violent race riot.

According to accounts, a white truck driver delivering cigarettes was parked on the 900 block of Florida Avenue. The area was home to the likes of A. Philip Randolph and Zora Neale Hurston, while also known for a number of thriving businesses.

Allegedly, a Black man named Buck Riley was assumed to be breaking into the driver’s vehicle and the white store owner handed the driver a gun then shot Riley in the leg. Fleeing the scene and running into a crowd of Black schoolchildren, the driver fired into the crowd which angered onlookers who thought the act was malicious.

A crowd gathered on the Florida Avenue strip, flipping the car over and then destroying businesses and other buildings. Police attempted to quell the crowds but couldn’t do so, but heavy rains kept much of the potential for violence at bay. In the end, 11 people were arrested and 10 charged. Riley and the driver also had their charges against them dropped.

The Eastside never fully recovered from this economic blow. But in 1995, the strip was renamed A. Philip Randolph Boulevard and beautification efforts came to the region in 2003. Still, observers note that this area didn’t get the same makeover as other parts of downtown Jacksonville despite urban renewal plans are consistently being introduced.

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Little Known Black History Fact: Jacksonville Race Riots was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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