Remembering the 1968 Riots

The spring of 1968 ushered in one of the most tumultuous years in modern American history–a year that nearly saw the fabric of the country split apart as assassinations, riots, and protests rocked

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cities from coast to coast.

Much ink has been spilled over the lingering cultural and social fallout from that year. We have largely remembered the impact of the icons who were martyred in ’68. Much less attention has been paid, though, to the lasting side effects of the massive riots and uprisings that followed the assassination of Dr. King.

In the days after April 4th, 117 civil disturbances broke out in inner cities across America. In 18 of those, the National Guard was called in to put down the rioting. Federal troops ultimately marched into three cities: Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington D.C.

America’s industrial belt was hit particularly hard. The rioting there was no brief moment of chaos and disorder, but the beginning of a prolonged decline in inner city neighborhoods that continues to this day

These images are from the Oak Hill and Hillman area on the South Side of Youngstown.

In the days after King’s assassination, the National Guard was called in to put down rioting in the Hillman area of the south side. A year later they would return. The neighborhoods surrounding Hillman today are in a state of swift decline—a decline that has spread to almost every part of the south side of the city.






In my days of wandering the Hillman area, I have used my camera to try and understand what has happened here and to document the complicated legacy of inner city disinvestment. For what words can not always describe, the camera can name.

Sean Posey

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