it was a riot
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A Mob for the Dead

In April of 1788, a mob of workers and freed slaves broke into a temporary shelter on the site of the still-under-construction New York City Hospital on Broadway and discovered a collection of preserved dead bodies and body parts. They believed that the bodies, in various states of dissection, had been stolen from cemeteries. They were right, for the most part.

By the late eighteenth century, the creation of a wholly American medical system, one not reliant on British doctors and facilities, necessitated an education apparatus fed by a regular supply of cadavers. In 1788, only five years after the war, this apparatus was still being erected. Columbia College [...]

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A Redder Summer

On the third Saturday of July in 1919, a number of military men—some recently discharged, some just off-duty, but many in uniform—began indiscriminately beating black men who happened to be walking in the area of the National Mall in Washington D.C. The attackers sought to avenge a white woman who had been allegedly “jostled” by two black men; she claimed that they tried to steal her umbrella. The Washington Post reported the incident under the headline "Negroes Attack Girl."

Washington, D.C., faced a particular set of racial tensions that summer. Local newspapers carried reports decrying the racial conflict tearing apart the nation in other cities, all the while publishing [...]