Protests and Riots in Albany, NY: Proposal


a) Our tour begins at the old site of St. Vincent Institute, a Catholic School on Morris Ave (between South Main and Partridge St) in Albany. In 1951, the girls at St. Vincent chose to protest racy outfits, specifically off the shoulder dresses, by wearing their uniforms to prom.
b) My second source brings us to Washington Park. Also during the 1950’s (1957 to be specific), a free concert was held; however, the teenaged girls at the concert did not care for the music because it was too slow. They protested by throwing rocks at the band playing during the concert. Many adults were outraged, as the concert was free, but many parents understood. They knew their daughters preferred more fast-passed music to dance to.
c) Next, we proceed to the State Capitol where protests were happening against the Iraq war (in 2005). During September of this year, many protests happened asking the government for peace. However, this protest was pro troops. One could see on the signs that many are for George Bush, who was President at the time. One sign says “Osama says… I [heart] Cindy Sheehan. Washington Post reported that Cindy Sheehan was the mother of a soldier who was killed in Iraq. She responded by creating Gold Star Families for Peace, and began many anti-war protests (Fletcher, Michael. 2005. “Cindy Sheehan’s Pitched Battle.” Washington Post, August 13). After, the tour travels a few blocks to the Times Union Center. In 2013, parents, teachers, and students gathered in favor of NYSUT at a protest called “One Voice United.” They protested common core testing and data-collection in schools which were criticized as being corrupt. Protesters were also upset with the new system for taking away teacher’s ability to be individual. They said that this ultimately is hurting the student with public money (“One Voice United: The Complete Program.” 2013. NYSUT.).
d) My last source is an advertisement, from 1921, urging people to get riot coverage. The question still remains, why? Many things were going on in the United States during this time which could have caused aggravation. First off, there was lots going on in the United States in politics. Woodrow Wilson was completing his term as president, leading to a new presidential election. In addition, the 18th Amendment had just gone into effect in 1920, making the sale and usage of alcohol illegal through Prohibition (U.S. Const. am 18). However, the biggest factor probably was the Tulsa Race Riot in 1921. This was a riot which happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma. According to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, a black man and white woman were in an elevator together in Tulsa, leading to his arrest. The Tulsa Tribune issued a report which spurred a riot (“1921 Tulsa Race Riot.” 2016. Tulsa Historical Society and Museum.). After the riot ended, about 300 were dead, 800 were injured, and 35 city blocks were destroyed. One could only imagine that this led to a feeling of national fear, leading to people wanting riot insurance. Further research will need to be done to see how this effected the Albany area.
2) Google maps estimates that this tour will take 51 minutes.
3) The theme of my tour is protests in Albany, New York. It ranges from small, sudden protests, to well organized and peaceful ones. This tour is geared towards all audiences. Some protests focus on legislation, some are geared toward society, while others are responses to other protests. These protests can appeal to almost all audiences because the issues vary so much. The advertisement from the 1920s may be a response to race riots, while the protest in the park was toward slow music and the societal norms that young girls should listen to calm, sophisticated music. I hope that others will understand how many ideas and points of view are expressed during various time periods. We, as an American society, are able to express our views in many different ways. Protesting and rallying can help to show what these ideas are and how they can exercise these ideas and freedoms available to them. I also hope that people understand that doing something small could be considered a protest, and that some many can be peaceful. I feel that with today’s media, many protests are seen as violent acts. Although some of the actions featured in this tour were violent; many were peaceful protests of people coming together, listening to music, and expressing their opinion. Albany is a prime area to protest because it is the capitol of New York State, and New York has always been known as a powerful state.
4) My first protest focuses on young girls protesting new style changes. Credit is due to the owners of the picture, which is the Albany Historical Flickr group. It shows that young girls could protest peacefully, but draw attention to their cause. One peaceful protest on my tour focuses on a pro-war protest to support peace, and the American troops. It is free to use.
5) I have to look more into my last source, the 1920s riot insurance advertisement. What was going on specifically in Albany to create riot insurance? Were riots prominent, or were citizens afraid of riots, such as the riot in Tulsa?

2 thoughts on “Protests and Riots in Albany, NY: Proposal

  • February 29, 2016 at 11:29 PM

    I like your theme of protests in the city. Since Albany is home to many of the legislative buildings in the state it would make sense that the city would be a hot spot for unrest. I have never heard of any insurance plan that specifically covers riots. Is this still something that can be purchased today?

  • March 9, 2016 at 10:25 PM

    Does C) include 2 locations?

    This is a really exciting theme, and I think you’re on the right track with the Tulsa riot connection. My understanding is that fear was a much bigger factor than actual riots; see if we have the books Reconstructing the Dreamland and Riot and Remebrance: The Tulsa Race War, which I think mention insurance policies. (And to answer John’s question–it’s now really difficult to get insurance against riot damage, which is why people often get so upset, because insurance companies won’t cover it like damage from other crimes).

    One thing to keep in mind as you’re writing your drafts is how you’re going to manage the tone from location to location–you’ve got some kind of funny ones with the first two, but then you’ve also got some pretty heavy ones as well. You talked about this a bit with the variety of protests, from military to educational to social to peaceful, but just something to think about in your writing.

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