Riots Following Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassination Spread to Baltimore
The Baltimore Riot of 1968 began two days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.
Rioting broke out in 125 cities across the United States, and spread to the city of Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday, April 6. The Governor of Maryland, Spiro T. Agnew, called out thousands of National Guard troops and 500 Maryland State Police to quell the disturbance. When it was determined that the state forces could not control the riot, Agnew requested Federal troops from President Lyndon B. Johnson. The riot lasted until April 14.
The riot resulted in more than 5,500 arrests, including 3,488 for curfew violations, 955 for burglary, 665 for looting, 391 for assault, and 5 for arson. There were seven deaths directly attributed to the rioting, six from fire and one by gunshot. In addition, an active Army soldier died in a traffic accident while redeploying from the city. Arsonists set more that 1,200 fires during the disturbance. Damage was estimated at over $12 million in 1968 dollars.
The Baltimore riot started on Saturday, April 6th, then Maryland Governor, Spirow Agnew, called out thousands of National Guard troops and 500 Maryland State Police to quell the disturbance. When it was determined that the state forces could not control the riot, Agnew requested Federal troops from President Lyndon B. Johnson.
By the time the riot was over, 6 people would be dead, 700 injured, 4,500 arrested and over a thousand fires set. More than a thousand businesses had been looted or burned, many of which never reopened. Total property damage was estimated at $13.5 million (1968$).
Decades after the riot, many inner-city neighborhoods in Baltimore and across the nation are still trying to recover from the impact of the riots that occurred almost 4 decades prior. For many cities, the King Riots triggered massive white flight and continued disinvestment in the inner city.
Retrospective of 1968 Baltimore Riots
Coverage of Baltimore 1968 Riots, Including Gallery