On this date, August 19, in 1991 the Crown Heights riot occurred. The deaths of Melbourne Hasidic scholar Yankel Rosenbaum and Black seven-year-old Gavin Cato that day ignited the worst three days of race riots ever seen in New York.
Gavin Cato was adjusting the chain on his bicycle on a Crown Heights street when a car being driven by a Hasidic man struck him. The man said he accidentally mounted the footpath while trying to catch up to a motorcade for a Jewish leader. The boy died instantly. News of the accident spread quickly through the Brooklyn Black community, sparking an outbreak of rioting and looting. [Continue reading at the African American Registry.]