Greektown Riot Research Paper

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When we look at the various riots that have take place throughout our nation’s history, they are many times treated as a case of spontaneous combustion rather than a slow build up to an explosive end. The media never gives the full story on these riots, making them look like random acts of large scale riots rather than giving the events of what led up to the outbursts. One of these riots that has been forgotten over the course of time is the 1909 Greektown Riot in South Omaha in 1909. Early in that year a Greek immigrant in South Omaha was arrested and killed the Irish officer arresting him. After a meeting was held to discuss the event, the townspeople charged into the Greek section of Omaha and began to riot; shooting, assaulting and burning…show more content…
The instigator that pushed the city’s peace off the cliff was a man named John Masourides. Masourides’s name is often left out of articles speaking about the event in order to put the blame on the entire Greek population rather than just one man. This is evident in even the New York Time’s coverage of the riot. Masourides had constantly left and returned to South Omaha whenever work was available. He had returned to South Omaha in early February of 1909, just before the event took place. Police were already aware of Masourides’s presence in the area and was under observation due to prior arrests for minor crimes, like multiple accounts of…show more content…
As labor unions grew and strikes occurred, this gave Greek immigrants a chance to move into South Omaha and start taking jobs at low wages in the packaging factories. The situation boiled over in 1909 when a Greek immigrant was arrested by and Irish immigrant for unclear reasons and more unclear events led to the two firing on each other causing the Irish police officer to lose his life. The Irish town leaders saw this as their chance to incite a riot against the Greek area to cleanse their town. In the long run, everything went their way; the Greeks were down to a couple hundred in population and the paler whites still held all of the power in the South Omaha, without anyone who caused the riot seeing jail

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