The riot was sparked when a group of black men walking in Providence refused to give up the “inside walk” to a number of white individuals coming from the opposite direction on an autumn evening. The next night, on October 18, 1824, violence broke out. A mob of white residents from all parts of Providence attacked a section of North Main Street. About twenty African-Americans’ homes and that of one white resident were destroyed during the riot. Only four rioters were tried after the Hard Scrabble incident, and all but one was eventually acquitted.
A couple of days before the riot, Chief Justice William Spear contributed an editorial to the Providence Beacon in which he commented that blacks in Providence were “naturally vicious and wicked.” Before the riot, Hard Scrabble was known as that part of the city where people of “ill repute” resided; it was deemed a place plagued with “criminal elements.”
With the growing, largely uneducated, poor black population would severely change the city. Working class whites, mainly Irish immigrants, were concerned about job competition. As the city’s black population increased, so too did white anxiety and fear: “the rapid ncrease of our black population from 700 in 1826 to 2258 in 1829.
In 1828, the community considered relocating to rural Ohio to create a black settlement they would call “Africania”. These plans never came to fruition. White Cincinnatians were unsympathetic, and mobs began to attack black neighborhoods in Cincinnati’s Fourth Ward (
From August 15 to August 22, mobs numbering 300 people attacked black homes, businesses and buildings. The police offered black residents no protection from the mob, and the mayor refused to call for an end to the violence.
An integrated working-class community, Snow Town, was malevolently assaulted by white rioters in 1831 when a black resident shot and killed a white sailor for throwing stones at his home. The “Snow Town Riots” resulted in four whites being killed by the local militia.
The "Flying Horses" was a carousel, frequented by both races, in the Moyamensing district of Philadelphia. Whites attacked black patrons after a week-long heat wave and social tensions on the merry- go-round. The carousel was destroyed, the blacks scattered, and three nights of uncontrolled white rioting followed. Directed primarily at black property, at least thirty-seven houses were looted and destroyed and several hundred people made home- less. The houses destroyed were owned by middle class blacks, and not located in a ghetto, but on streets where blacks and whites both lived. Whites extended lamps from their windows to distinguish their homes from those of the blacks. Black homes, on the other hand, were often quietly abandoned to the mob. In assessing the cause of the "Flying Horses" Riot, an 1834 citizens committee "cited the frequent hiring of Negroes during periods of depression and white unemployment and the tendency of Negroes to protect, and even forcibly rescue, their brethren when the latter were arrested as fugitive slaves."