About the Website and Book

This website draws and expands on the research I conducted while writing The Great Uprising: Race Riots in Urban America during the 1960s.  Both examine the nation’s largest wave of race-related uprisings over the arc of the entire decade.  Both suggest that the traditional conservative and liberal understandings of the “riots” of the 1960s are lacking because neither places the revolts of the era within historical context.  Both present a cautionary tale by challenging us to consider if the conditions that produced this “Great Uprising” are still predominant in American culture today.”  However, whereas the book focused intensively on three communities, one small, one large, and one middle-sized, each which experienced at least one race revolt—Cambridge and Baltimore, Maryland and York, Pennsylvania– this website explores the Great Uprising more broadly and comprehensively.  It begins with a map that portrays the breadth of the racial uprisings of the 1960s.  From this landing page, users can learn additional information about every city that experienced a revolt, from the most severe in Watts, Detroit, and Newark, to less known risings in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Cairo, Illinois, and Wilmington, Delaware.  Complementing this map are pages that allow users to better understand where, when and why the uprisings took place, as well as links to resources for further research.  Finally, this website includes a virtual wall and shoe box, where I encourage users to submit their thoughts and reactions (on the wall) and their memories, photographs, news clippings, etc. (in the shoebox).   On a regular basis, submissions to the wall and shoebox will be curated and posted to the website for all to see. 

About the Creator

Peter B. Levy is a professor of history at York College, Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses on the civil rights movement, race and justice and twentieth century American history.  He earned his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University.  In addition to the Great Uprising, his books include: Civil War on Race Street: The Civil Rights Movement in Cambridge, Maryland; The New Left and Labor in the 1960s; Let Freedom Ring: A Documentary History of the Modern Civil Rights Movement; and The Seedtime, The Work, and The Harvest: New Perspectives on the Black Freedom Struggle in America (co-edited by Jeffrey L. Littlejohn and Reginald K. Ellis).  He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a Fulbright Academic Specialist grant. 

He would like to thank Drs. Jennifer Pommeroy and Jacqueline Beatty, who teach geography and history at York College for their advice and help on this project and Danielle Gemperline, whose work as a research assistant proved invaluable. 

To develop the interactive data visualization, Dr. Levy partnered with auut studio, a creative firm based in San Francisco, CA. This is the same studio behind the website Monroe Work Today, a digital humanities project on the history of resistance to lynching.