Revisiting the Crown Heights Riot: Multiethnic Hostility at the Neighborhood and City Levels
Volume 7 | Issue III | September 2023
Berkeley Carroll School ’24
New York, USA
I have been interested in history and politics for as long as I can remember. I was driven to pursue historical research by the work of three authors: Robert K. Massie (author of biographies on the Russian tsars and pre-WW1 Europe), Barbara Tuchman (Guns of August, as well as several other excellent books like A Distant Mirror on 14th-century Europe), and Robert Caro (the magisterial Power Broker and the series on Lyndon B. Johnson). All three authors came to writing history from unconventional backgrounds, working as journalists before they began writing books. I have been involved in journalism both through working on my school newspaper, the Berkeley Carroll Blotter, as the editor-in-chief and in my position as a research assistant over the last year with Anya Schiffrin, director of Technology, Media, and Communications at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. For the final paper in my junior year American Studies class, I chose to focus on the 1991 Crown Heights riot in Brooklyn, New York. In working on my paper, I had the unique opportunity to interview Professor Edward S. Shapiro, who wrote the definitive book on the riot. He helped me understand the social and political realities that spurred the riot. Taking time after the school year, I revised and expanded my paper for The Schola, focusing on the dynamics of multi-ethnic urban relations as shown in J. Eric Oliver’s Politics of Integration and how his model fits the specific circumstances of the Crown Heights riot. I am excited to further my studies in history and the social sciences in college.