Remembering the Raleigh Riots, April 1968
Created April 16, 2018
Updated April 22, 2018
- Added more excerpts from log books.
- Added excerpt from 1971 street map, showing more
accurate street names and configurations.
- Added section of fire department log book excerpts
- Summary Chart
- Rioting in Raleigh
- April 4 to April 12
- Fire Department Notes
- Fire Calls Research
- Interactive Map
- Street Map From 1971
- Newspaper Front Pages
- Stories Not Told
April 2018 marks a grim anniversary: fifty years since the assassination of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. He was shot at a motel in Memphis and
pronounced dead at 6:05 p.m. EST. Riots soon erupted across the state* and
nation**. It was the greatest wave of social unrest in the United States since
the Civil War, notes
In Raleigh, rioting started a few hours after the
announcement of Dr. King's death. It resulted in fires and
property damage over a number of nights in south Raleigh. This
page presents an overview of the emergency response to the riots
and particularly about fire and police department activities.
*See this blog archives
posting which recounts riot-related incidents faced by fire departments
around the state and a subsequent state training curriculum that was created.
**Rioting impacted over 100 cities across the country between April and May
1968. Over 45 people were killed and over 2,500 people were injured. Over 15,000
people were arrested.
News & Observer, April 6, 1968
View the chart
Rioting in Raleigh
Beginning on April 4, the Raleigh Fire Department
responded to dozens of reported fires over several days, and most of which were
intentionally set. They were assisted and protected by the Raleigh Police
Department. Every available on- and off-duty officer was deployed, along with
dozens of North Carolina state troopers, and other local law officers including
Wake County deputies and state ABC officers. The North
Carolina National Guard also responded, with 1,200 soldiers eventually
patrolling city streets.
Daily curfews were enacted and enforced until April 10.* The city also
declared a state of emergency, which prohibited the sale of firearms and
ammunition, and prohibited parades and demonstrations. It ended April 12. The Governor also enacted a statewide ban on selling alcoholic beverages. It ended on April 11.
Four days after the violence started, City Council adopted a special
ordinance aimed at arsonists. Making or possessing fire bombs, or the materials
to make them, was made illegal. Violations were punishable by $50 fine and thirty days in jail. They also increased the reward amount from $500 to $1000, for information leading to arrest and conviction of anyone setting a fire in Raleigh.
Some 350 or more people were arrested through April 13, for curfew violations and
other charges relating to the rioting and destruction of property.**
*Curfews were enacted statewide, in cities and towns including Cary, Charlotte, Concord, Durham, Farmville, Franklinton, Goldsboro, Greensboro, Greenville, Lexington, New Bern, Plymouth, Wake Forest, and Wilmington.
**Reported arrest totals included 293 (as of April 8) and 333 (as of April 9).
However. as of April 13, one newspaper reported a total of 266 arrests. Were the
totals revised downward? Did they mean 366 arrests? Did they mean curfew
violations only? To be determined.
News & Observer photos
April 4 to April 12
April 4 - Thursday Night
At about 9:15 p.m. on Thursday night, a group of 50 to 75 black students from Shaw University
started marching north on Fayetteville Street. They were chanting and yelling
and marched "some six to eight abreast." They smashed store windows, shattered
windows of passing cars, and overturned automobiles at the Harmon Motor Company.
Police officers confronted the rioters, using nightsticks and mace. They
pushed the protestors back toward the university, while "rocks and bottles
showered over the fence at police and bystanders." After a number of repeated
confrontations, police pulled from the campus and reorganized.
They made plans to patrol the perimeter around the university. They cordoned off the area around the Shaw campus, and called the State
Highway Patrol to reroute all northbound traffic into the city to Saunders
Street, to keep vehicles off Wilmington Street. (Officials also considered cordoning
off St. Augustine's College.)
After a lull of about 30 minutes--during which time Shaw President Dr. James
E. Cheek was attempting to talk to the students in the school gym--they "poured out of the Shaw gymnasium"
and into the nearby Weaver Brothers car lot around 10:45 p.m.*
"Autos in the lot
were banged by the angry mob wielding iron pipes, steel fence posts, cement
blocks, and sections of bed railing." Within minutes, "some 50 policemen armed
with riot guns" lined South Street facing the campus. Another 50 were stationed
at the Wilmington-South street intersection, at the car lot.
By 11:00 p.m., Police Chief Tom Davis had left the scene, and was planning to
request the National Guard. By 11:15 a.m., the State Highway Patrol had placed
another 20 troopers on scene. (By Friday, more than 50 were assigned to
Raleigh.) Police officers were also posted at every entrance
to City Hall, located at McDowell and Hargett streets, and admitted only those
"who could prove they needed to enter the building on official business."
*Raleigh police officers did not respond onto the Shaw
University campus. They let campus police handle all incidents
at all the colleges.
By 10:00 p.m., the city's entire police force was called downtown, including
off-duty members and some 15 auxiliary policemen fresh from a basic training
course. By 11:25 p.m., when the Police Chief returned to the station, city
department heads had started reporting to City hall, to "round up and dispense
all vehicles normally assigned to their department."
State prison busses were brought to the police station for use as
needed. By 10:30 p.m., one of the gray busses had been "battered." It was filled with "women prisoners who had been
picked up from their place at work" and had been "mobbed by an angry group" of
A green truck carrying armaments and manned by a state trooper idled in front of City Hall. At 12:05 a.m.
on Friday, a half-dozen
riot helmets arrived to receive shot gun shells. "They departed to waiting patrol
cars and drove off in the direction of downtown Raleigh." (The city
of Rocky Mount also "called to offer bright lights in areas where police deem
Noted one newspaper account, "reports coming in to the [police] dispatcher's
office were short and to the point, and dispatchers had 'no time for simple
questions'." They reported that "a thin trickle of Raleigh's white citizens
came down to the police station. Some were confused, some just mad, as a harried
cadet took reports of cars being attacked, windshields smashed with bricks, and
side windows broken with rocks as they drove" past groups of protestors.
At 1:00 a.m. on Friday, the Mayor issued the proclamation of a curfew and state of
emergency. Within another hour, "the streets of Raleigh were relatively quiet."
At the police station, however, "radios were still crackling and local officers
prepared to stick it out for the rest of a long night."
News & Observer, April 5, 1968
Fire destroyed the Raleigh Rescue Mission warehouse at Blount and Lee streets. Engine 2,
Engine 3, and Truck 7 were dispatched at 11:48 p.m., for Box 224 at Blount and Lee
streets. The one-story frame structure was used for storage and contained furniture, clothing, appliances, and other supplies. The burning building collapsed around midnight. Arson was suspected, as the fire was burning in three separate
locations. Loss $45,500.
Fire also spread to a dwelling at 217 Lee Street. The one-story frame
structure was damaged [destroyed?] with a $10,500 loss. Engine 1 was special
called at 11:49 p.m. to assist with both fires. Car 4 requested
Engine 10 and Truck 6 as relief companies at 4:12 a.m. On April 7, Engine 2 returned to the scene at 5:55 a.m.
to extinguish smoldering debris.
Shaw University students helped extinguish the fire(s) on Lee
Street. The warehouse fire also apparently "severed power lines"
as the Shaw campus was "blacked out" after the fire.
Three young men, ages 18 to 20, were later arrested and charged with arson, with a fourth sought by the FBI. A night watchman in the building told police that he saw a group of "young Negro males" break through the front door, smash furniture, pour gasoline or kerosene over the floor, and set the building afire.
||E2, E3, T7
||Radio, Car 4
April 5 - Friday Morning
- 12:34 a.m. - 4/5/68 - Weaver Brothers Rambler - Fayetteville and South
4 dispatched 12:34 a.m. as requested by Car 2. Three or four automobiles
were burned on the car lot. Loss $550.
- 1:58 a.m. - 4/5/68 - Dixie Motor Parts - 902 S. Wilmington Street
Engine 1 and Engine 4
dispatched 1:58 a.m. Police reinforced firefighters, who were bombarded with
rocks and other objects. Raleigh fireman H. K. Hodges was injured, struck in
the head by a thrown rock. It struck "with enough force to split the helmet he was
wearing and raise a big knot on his head." Another object "was pitched hard
enough to knock the steps off a fire truck." Also injured was
volunteer fireman Bobby Mitchell, who burned his left arm and hand at the
fire. Building sustained a $1,000
loss. Started by fire bomb.
4/5/68 - A&P Grocery Store - 505 Newcombe Road
Fire bomb was placed inside store, around midnight
Police answered a burglar alarm and officers found that a hole had been
knocked in a window, and a fire bomb placed in a trash can filled with
debris. They extinguished the fire before it could cause any damage to the
store. Engine 4 responded at 12:05 a.m. by request of police.
2:42 a.m. - 4/5/68 - Thomas Food Market - 602 E. Hargett Street
The business was described as a
Not recorded as a fire call.
- 9:00 a.m. - 4/5/68 - Thorne's Hardware Store - 416 W. South Street
Thrown at building about 9:00 a.m. Police found that the bomb had
"glanced off" the building, which had also "been hit at least twice by
sniper's bullets." Officers were keeping a close watch on the building, because the inventory included
"a veritable arsenal of firearms and weapons."
Not recorded as a fire call.
Reported the Raleigh Times that "a news reporter, surrounded
by a few auxiliary policemen, regular policemen and state
troopers waiting for further orders, commented on the glowing
red sky to the southeast of Raleigh."
"'My God, they must be burning up Southside,' groaned a
police sergeant. A half-block of South Blount Street and a
couple of automobiles were on fire. It was minutes before the
sirens sounded from Central Fire Station on Dawson Street.
Mayor Travis Tomlinson ordered a curfew for the entire city from 1:00 a.m. to
6:00 a.m. on Friday, and declared the city in a state of emergency. The curfew prohibited
the "sale of explosions, firearms, ammunition, gasoline, or intoxicating
Almost 1,200 National Guard members were called to Raleigh.
The first alerts to members were made about 10:00 p.m. on
Thursday. Guard members began arriving in Raleigh shortly after
midnight on Friday morning. They began patrolling the streets at 5:30 a.m.
on Friday, after
city and guard officials conferred at 3:00 a.m.
Guard members were assigned to patrol the streets for two
four-hour shifts each day. They also received two eight-hour
off-duty shifts, though they remained on standby status.
At dusk, three platoons of soldiers, about 150 men, were
stationed at places such as Memorial Auditorium across from Shaw
University, the city water plant off South Wilmington Street,
and Moore Square.
As of 1:00 a.m. on Friday, fourteen people had been treated at Rex and Wake Memorial
hospitals for "injuries connected with the violence." Most were minor and only
one was hospitalized overnight.
April 5 - Friday Afternoon
Noon time brought a peaceful march of singing and shouting down Fayetteville
Street to Memorial Auditorium, with some 400 to 500 black students then marching in
return to St. Augustine's College. That afternoon, large groups of demonstrators
formed in two locations: New Bern Avenue at Tarboro Road (near St. Augustine's)
and Wilmington and South streets (at Shaw University). Guard members and police
officers were dispatched to both locations.
About 1:25 p.m. at Wilmington and South, some 30 soldiers with gas masks and
"fixed bayonets" dispersed about 150 students from Shaw and St.
Augustine's who were blocking traffic. They had formed "double rows" at the
point where Highways 401, 70, and 50 were "funneled" into Wilmington Street at
After refusing to leave, the Guard
members formed a skirmish line and advanced. Most demonstrators then sat down in
the intersection. The soldiers fired four "tear gas shots," which sent the
protestors running onto the Shaw campus.
No injuries were observed except newsmen who got faces full of tear gas."*
Officials then talked with community leaders at the scene, and those leaders
persuaded some of the other students who were "milling on the sidewalk" to move back onto the campus.
By Friday afternoon, some 500 to 700 National Guardsmen had been deployed in the city.
Most incidents of "property damage, rock throwing, and
apparent arson" centered around the area the Shaw campus, south
of the auditorium. But "tension also mounted" around the St.
Augustine's campus in east Raleigh.
*Guard members had been instructed to use "any force
necessary" to stop looting and arson and "deadly force" against
County employees were released from work at 4:00 p.m.,
instead of 5:15 p.m. State employees were also released from their duties
at 4:15 p.m., to help "cooperate fully" with the curfew. The federal courthouse also closed about 4:00
Wesley Williams, manager of the Raleigh Merchants Bureau,
told business owners to close at 5:30 p.m. and "forgo late night
Friday hours" and regardless if a curfew was imposed.
News & Observer, April 6, 1968
Raleigh Times, April 5, 1968
- 12:44 p.m. - 4/5/68 - Thomas Food Market - 602 E. Hargett Street
Engine 10 dispatched 12:44 p.m. Grocery store fire. $400 damage. Caused by rioters.
- 8:57 p.m. - 4/5/68 - Fire bomb in street - 416 W. South Street
Engine 2 dispatched 8:57 p.m. Out on arrival.
Note: Engine 2 log cites west South Street. Fire ledgers and Raleigh Times
cite east South Street.
- 10:15 p.m. - 4/5/68 - Joe Lowe's grocery - Fayetteville Street near the
Southern Railway crossing
Tossed into the store about 10:15 p.m. Officers quickly extinguished the
"kerosene bomb" and prevented damage.
Not recorded as a fire call.
- Police reported that relatively light damage occurred on
Friday night. There were five vehicles damaged, three
businesses with a broken window, one business broken into,
and four people injured.
- Four or five policemen were injured on Friday. The most
seriously hurt was Officer Wade Sapp. He was riding his
motorcycle and leading the student parade from St.
Augustine's college when he was hit in the head by rocks
thrown by the students. He was knocked from his motorcycle,
and admitted to Rex Hospital with a possible concussion.
April 6 - Saturday
Raleigh Times, April 6, 1968
- 5:07 a.m. - 4/6/68 - House - 116 Kipling Street
Engine 7, Engine 3, Truck 7 dispatched at 5:07
a.m. Mattress and door burned.
- 11:50 a.m. - 4/6/68 - House - 905 Williamston Street
Engine 6 dispatched at 11:50 a.m. Grease fire on stove.
- 7:50 p.m. - 4/6/68 - House, vacant - 515 S. West Street
Engine 1, Engine 2, Truck 6 dispatched
7:50 p.m. as reported by police. Engine 5 (8:05 p.m.), Engine 2 (12:46 p.m.),
Engine 1 (8:23 a.m.) returned for reports of smoldering debris.
- A total 1,340 members of the National Guard were assigned to the
Raleigh area, reported the newspapers, an increase of yesterday's estimated 700 men.
The Guard members were used to "saturate downtown Raleigh."
This also freed city police, county sheriff's officers, and
state troopers to man "roving patrol" cars. Some of the
patrols were designated for Cameron Village, North Hills,
and other shipping areas. All city- and county-owned
vehicles "normally not used for police work were pressed
- Additional police equipment had been brought to Raleigh
[either Friday or Saturday] by the Air National Guard from
Lexington, KY, and consisted of two mobile searchlights
mounted on vehicles.
- Between 5:00 p.m. Friday night and 6:00 a.m. Saturday,
51 people were arrested, 46 for violating the curfew.
Magistrate Brooks Poole told the Raleigh Times that those
arrested for curfew violations "were placed under $25 bond
which could not be posted until 6:00 a.m." that morning.
They were "released under [their own] recognizance" and
allowed to post their own bonds.
- Saturday night was quiet for police activity, perhaps
"imposed to a great extent by the driving rain." One car
collision was reported at 11:47 p.m. The yellow taxi was
"forced from the road" by a "group of Negro men." It crashed
into a parked car. The driver was taken to Wake Memorial
Hospital and listed in satisfactory condition.
- A new city ordinance also took effect on Saturday, prohibiting
demonstrations and parades on the city's "public ways."
- Another curfew was planned for Saturday night. Noted the Mayor, it was citywide
and "allows a minimum of movement of people in and out of
the city. Primary, only health personnel such as doctors and
nurses are permitted free movement." Also all stores, restaurants, and business
during the curfew. "Basically, he explained, it means stay
- C. C. Thorne, the owner of Thorne's Hardware and
Sporting Goods on South Street, told the Raleigh Times that
no ammunition nor firearms were stored in his store. He
contradicted a report that the store was being "watched
closely" because it was an "arsenal of firearms." They
returned their stock to their suppliers and finished the
packing and shipping on Friday morning.
April 7 - Sunday
Fire destroyed Green Brothers Seed Company warehouse at 1431 S. Blount Street. Dispatched 4:38 p.m.
for Engine 2, Engine 3, and Truck 7. The one-story building measured 220 by 110
feet with 24,200 square-feet of floor space. The building was filled with lawn, garden, and field seed.
(This was the company's busy time of year.) Fire also spread to tractor-trailer trucks at the R-C Motor Lines yard next door. Flames and heat also damaged the state-owned Textile Research Services building at 1501 S. Blount
Flames also threatened "two large and highly explosive chemical tanks" at the Ralston Purina Company
plant on the west side of Blount Street. Police and National Guard closed Wilmington Street at South Street to keep people away from the blaze. Some of the 3,330 people attending the memorial services at Memorial Auditorium tried going to the fire, after the service.
The fire resulted in a $450,000 loss. Arson was suspected as the company
manager noted that no electricity was in the building. He had entered the building at 4:00 p.m. and saw smoke. He told reporters
that he wasn't surprised by the fire. "I had a man staked out in the
building all Friday night."
Wayne Upchurch (left) and News & Observer (middle, right) photos
Raleigh Times, April 8, 1968
||E2, E3, T7
- 8:50 p.m. - 4/7/68 - M and H Grocerteria - 620 W. South Street
Thrown onto building at 8:50 p.m. Building suffered minor damage to the roof.
"The bomb burned itself out before firemen arrived."
Engine 1 dispatched 8:51 p.m. Arrived 8:55 p.m. Cleared 9:01
- 9:25 p.m. - 4/7/68 - Jeffrey's Grocery - 500 E. Martin Street
"Molotov cocktail pitched into [the store]." Extinguished without serious damage.
First of two bombs thrown at the building. Engine 3 dispatched 9:26 p.m.
Arrived 9:27 p.m. Cleared 9:31 p.m.
- 9:45 p.m. - 4/7/68 - Jeffrey's Grocery - 500 E. Martin Street
without serious damage. Fire department response (if any) not recorded.
- 9:45 p.m. - 4/7/68 - Playboy Club - 410 S. East Street
Thrown into club at 9:45 p.m. Someone inside the club threw the bomb back outside before
"any more than slight damaged occurred."
Engine 3 dispatched 9:47 p.m. Arrived 9:49 p.m. Cleared 9:55 p.m.
The 3:30 p.m. memorial service at Memorial Auditorium was
interrupted by a bomb threat. It was received about five minutes after the
service started, as telephoned "through the fire department switchboard." The
Mayor ordered a search of the building basement as soon as he received word of
the threat. He also informed the event speakers "so they could 'step up their
Though no bomb was found in the basement, he had the building
evacuated as a precaution. "'We realized that there was still a
possibility that a bomb could have been brought by someone in
the audience who could have left it next to his seat and then
Over 3,000 attendees were evacuated and the service continued
on the lawn. Police and fire officials found no bomb anywhere in
*Numerous bomb threats were reported at schools and other facilities
during the week. Note: Fire department responses to bomb threats were not
recorded in the Daily Report of Fires.
- Between 7:00 p.m. Saturday and 7:00 a.m. Sunday, there
were 89 arrests, 74 for curfew violations.
- Reported the Raleigh Times, "police had a breather
[Sunday] morning. From 6:33 a.m. until 9:58 a.m., there were
no calls except those from car to car."
- In addition to the four fire bombs, two incidents of
property damage were reported Sunday night. Bricks were
thrown through the windows of the Red and White Grocery on
Fayetteville Street and Thomas Food Market on Hargett
- One officer was injured, D. W. Martin "of the
investigative division." He answered a "fight call" and
suffered an injured leg and torn clothing while attempting
to arrest a man. He was treated and released at Rex
April 8 - Monday
Forty fires had been reported by midday on Monday, Fire Chief Jack Keeter
told a newspaper. Most were blamed on fire bombs or other deliberate acts.
Arrests continued during curfew hours. Police arrested 20 people overnight.
Also overnight, police had checked out some 57 reports, including "rank and file traffic reports and disturbances, suspicious people and reported 'gatherings' of groups of people during curfew hours." Also, numerous gunshots were reported to be heard, and police found only one to be
"founded." From 2:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Monday morning, "conditions were completely quiet."
Raleigh Times - April 8, 1968
April 9 - Tuesday
Fire destroyed an apartment building under construction in the 700 block of
St. Mary's Street. Dispatched at 6:15 p.m. for Engine 5, Engine 1, and Truck 6.
address was 740 E. Smallwood Drive. Engine 5 was first-arriving. Four-person
crew. They used two 2 1/2-inch lines off their engine. Engine 1 brought a feeder
line to Engine 5, and Engine 6 boosted the pumping from the Ligon Building on
St. Mary's Street. Engine 6 used 1,150 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose and pumped for
The Shamrock Apartments "were bounded" by the Broughton High School gym, the Raleigh Apartments, and Wedgewood Apartments.
The fire destroyed one of two buildings under construction. Loss $100,000. The units were within three weeks of completion. Each contained 16 individual apartments. Fire
was investigated as a possible arson, as no electricity was present, no welding was being done, and no other type of fire was being used inside the building.
The flames had also spread rapidly and had "enveloped the building within five
minutes after it was discovered."
||E5, E1, T6
The Rex Hospital nurse's home on St. Mary's Street received a telephoned
threat about 9:15 p.m. About 75 student nurses, resident staff members, and house mothers were evacuated after a female caller reported that a bomb had been planted in the building. No bomb was found after a search by police, firemen, and National Guardsmen.
The Raleigh Times reported that the statewide alcoholic beverage ban has had a "profound effect" on the workload of the emergency room at Wake Memorial Hospital. Said one official, the hospital handled only one "act of violence" during the past weekend. Normally, the emergency room would handle 18 to 20
stabbings or other injuries resulting from "altercations in which drinking
was involved." It also noted that Rabbis in the state have appealed to the Governor for temporary suspension of the ban, so Jews can buy Kosher wine for their ritual Passover meals. One Raleigh rabbi estimates that there are around 9,000 Jews who will need four cups of wine each.
April 10 - Wednesday
fires and no firebombs were reported in the city during Tuesday night and
No further curfews were enacted after Wednesday night.
The only reported property damage overnight was a broken door at the ABC store on New Bern Avenue. It was reported at 10:18 p.m. Tuesday. No sign of entry or damage to goods was observed. After a morning inventory, three cases of bourbon were discovered missing.
April 11 - Thursday
State ban on alcohol sales ended.
Last of National Guard troops were released Thursday night. Some 4,637 troops were activated "to help quell rioting" in six cities. Another 3,911 Guardsmen were on standby duty at local armories
around the state.
April 12 - Friday
City state of emergency discontinued. Two bans were lifted: prohibiting sales of firearms and ammunition, and prohibiting parades and demonstrations.
Rewards remained in effect for information about arsonists and persons
"perpetrating bomb hoaxes." The rewards were good until May 31.
Fire Department Notes
Two companies of off-duty firefighters were activated during the riot, Chief Keeter
told the Raleigh Times. Each consisted of five firemen. One was activated on Thursday night, April 4, when the Raleigh Rescue Mission
burned. "We were running all over the city" for actual fires and false alarms,
Another was activated a week later, for
the fire at the Shamrock Apartments on April 11. They staffed a reserve pumper.
What about overtime pay, asked the paper? Chief Keeter said he'd
"include the overtime work in a report to the city manager."
After that, any overtime pay was "up to him and the discretion
of the City Council."
From Friday night forward, the fire companies had protection from the
National Guard. [ Need details. Did
they get escorts?] Also, three active firemen "had to leave their jobs" to
report for Guard duty. "No real emergency point" was reached, however, noted Chief Keeter.
There were enough available personnel for the volume of fire calls.
Chief Keeter also assisted with answering calls on the first night.
On Thursday, April 4, at 11:58 p.m., Chief Keeter was called or marked en route
to Station 1, to assist with calls. He arrived at 12:10 a.m. and cleared at 5:25
Log Book Entries
Select entries from the fire department log books, related to
operations, activities, and incidents that week:
- 4/4 - Sta 3 - 0800 - Roll call – Joe Ray off on K day.
- 4/4 - Sta 4 - 0800 - Roll Call – Watkins K. day off – N.
E. Conyers working relief, Griffin sent to Station 9 to fill
in; Hodges & Griffin back from Vacation.
- 4/4 - Sta 5 - 0800 - Roll call. C. J. Stephenson [with]
K.D., Adams and Gill back off vacation.
- 4/4 - Sta 6 - 0800 - Roll call. J. R. Foy has Keeter
day. J. R. Marshburn out sick.
- 4/4 - Sta 4 - 0830 - Sunshine laundry picked up 10
sheets, 11 pillow cases, and 17 towels.
- 4/4 - Sta 6 - 1000 - Mowed lawn.
- 4/4 - Sta 2 - 1831 - Responded to 1100 blk. Fay. St.
Grass fire. No damage. C. R. Boseman, R. S. Moody, K. R.
Lane, R. Davis.
- 4/4 - Sta 3 - 2202 - Box 143 – Fisher & Booker – False
- 4/4 - Sta 2 - 2225 - Responded Box 243 – Bloodworth &
South – False - C. R. Boseman, Moody, Lane, Davis
- 4/4 - Sta 3 - 2236 - Box 241 – Martin & State – 10-97
11:38 p.m. – False alarm
- 4/4 - Sta 2 - 2348 - Responded Box 224 – Blount & Lee –
Raleigh Rescue Mission Warehouse – Blount Street – Damage unestimated - C. R. Boseman,
Moody, Lane, Davis.
- 4/5 - Sta 3 - 0412 - Eng 10 went to S. Blount to release
men at scene of warehouse fire.
- 4/5 - Sta 6 - 0413 - Truck #6 goes to Blount & Lee to
relieve Truck #7 at Rescue Mission Warehouse. Box 224
- 4/5 - Sta 3 - 0800 - G. Godwin called in to National
- 4/5 - Sta 3 - 0855 - Eng 3 responded to telephone call
to Ambassador Theater with Hamilton, Chappell, Boyette,
Bradford, Grice, found call to be false.
- 4/5 - Sta 3 - 0930 - Sent to Station 3 to relieve men
who had been fighting fire were Capt. Frazier, Partin, Gates
[?], Whittington, Giles [?] to ride Eng 3. Boyette stayed on
duty. Capt. Hamtilon, Chappell, Bradford went home to return
at 6:00 p.m.
- 4/5 - Sta 4 - 1205 - Eng 4 ans. call to 505 Newcombe
Rd. A&P Food Store. Investigate riot damage. Damage
unestimated. 12:13 a.m. Eng. 4 10-8.
- 4/5 - Sta 4 - 1234 - Eng. 4 ans. call to Wilming. &
South St. Weaver Bro. used car lot. 10-97 at 12:37 a.m. Auto
on fire set by rioters. 1964 Ford. Total loss. Extinguished
with booster hose. 10-8 at 12:55 a.m.
- 4/5 - Sta 3 - 1244 - Eng 10 responded to telephone call
to 602 E. Hargett St. with Hamilton, Chappell, Bradford, M.
King, B. King found fire in rear of Thomas Grocery Store.
Extinguished with booster. Damage unestimated. Cause set
afire by party unknown.
- 4/5 - Sta 2 - 17:15 - Reported 10-8 - Also house burned
217 Lee Street – Howard Thomas owner – House complete loss –
Value _____ - Contents ______
- 4/5 - Sta 4 - 1800 - W. S. Griffin work at fire station
#4 from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. for help to #4 Co.
- 4/5 - Sta 2 - 1900 - Returned to quarters – Fire bomb
in street – [Security] officer O. C. Pratt had fire out on
- 4/6 - Sta 2 - 0805 - Tested radio – OK – William Glover
working 24 hrs. this station. J. M. Smith called to active
duty with Nat’l Guard.
- 4/6 - Sta 3 - 1941 - Tel. call to 900 blk. of
Wilmington Terrace. Dumpster. No damage. 10-97 7:47 p.m.
- 4/6 - Sta 2 - 1950 - Responded tele – 515 S. West –
Look [to report from] Engine 1 – C. R. Boseman, R. S. Moody,
Ken Lane, W. M. Glover – C. R. Boseman hurt left knew.
- 4/7 - Sta 2 - 0555 - Responded tel. 900 S. Blount – Wet
down burned out building – no damage – Boseman, Moody, Lane,
- 4/7 - Sta 6 - 0800 - Roll call. R. D. Truelove K-day,
J. T. Ward working relief, L. W. Beck K-day, J. M. Dew
- 4/7 - Sta 6 - 0900 - Eng 6 & Truck 6 went to Station 5
for Sunday School.
- 4/7 - Sta 2 - 1157 - Tel. call on railroad track
between Lake Wheeler and Kirkland Road – With W. R. Mabry,
J. E. Carroll, R. J. Upchurch, C. B. Edwards, W. J. Sykes –
Woods fire, no damage.
- 4/7 - Sta 2 - 1638 - Tel. call [to] 1431 S. Blount St.
– With Mabry, Carroll, Upchurch, Edwards, Stanley, Sykes –
One warehouse burn down and two adjoining bldg. caught fire
– Damage estimated
- 4/7 - Sta 5 - 1706 - Eng 5 ans. to 1431 S. Blount St.
With Hailey, May, Mitchell, Moore. Carried in two 2 1/2”
lines off Eng. 1 at the corner of City Farm Rd. & Blount St.
Placed lines into Research Lab adjoining 1431 S. Blount St.
- 4/7 - Sta 4 - 1932 - Engine Co. 4 went to 1431 South
Blount St., Partin, Burchette, Hunnicutt, Roy Moody, Harry
- 4/7 - Sta 3 - 2126 - Eng 3 responded to telephone call
at Martin & East with Hamilton, Chappell, Boyette, Tuttle,
Bradford. Found where fire bomb had been thrown at Jeffers
Store. Minor damage. Out on arrival.
- 4/7 - Sta 3 - 2147 - Eng 3 responded to telephone call
at 410 S. East St. with Hamilton, Chappell, Boyette, Tuttle,
Bradford. Found where fire bomb had been thrown through
window. Extinguished with booster. Minor damage.
- 4/7 - Sta 3 - 2215 - Eng 3 responded to Box 247,
Hightower & Coleman with Hamilton, Chappell, Boyette,
Tuttle, Bradford. Found Box 247 to be false.
- 4/7 - Sta 3 - 2219 - Eng 3 returned to quarters after
responding to Box 247.
- 4/8 - Sta 6 - 0722 - Truck 6 went to 1431 Blount Street.
Green Seed Co. to relieve Truck 7.
- 4/8 - Sta 2 - 0805 - Tested radio OK – J. M. Smith
called up by Natl Guard
- 4/8 - Sta 5 - 0942 - Eng 5 to #8 Station to help clean
- 4/8 - Sta 4 - 1030 - Hodges went to store.
- 4/8 - Sta 4 - 1050 - Hodges returned to quarters.
- 4/8 - Sta 2 - 1221 - Responded tel. 1400 blk S. Blount
– Wet down previous fire – C. R. Boseman, Moody, Gill,
- 4/9 - Sta 2 - ??38 - Responded tel. 1400 blk S. Blount
St – Wet down previous fire – Boseman, Gill, Moody, Davis.
- 4/9 - Sta 5 - 0800 - Roll call – D. F. Gay (out sick),
Capt. Wall & W. L. Mitchell (KD). P. H. Perry off duty
(National Guard). Capt. House (relief).
- 4/9 - Sta 4 - 1432 - Eng 4 answered telephone call to
2709 Kittrell Dr. with Capt. Godwin, Partin, Burchette,
Thornton. 1959 Volkswagon on fire inside. Used booster to
extinguish. 10-97 2:46 p.m. 10-8 3:20 p.m. Back in station
3:25 p.m. Damage unestimated. Volks belong to [name,
address, license plate].
- 4/9 - Sta 5 - 1815 - Eng 5. Ans. to Raleigh Apts. Annex
in rear 700 St. Marys. Apt. building destroyed. Used two 2
1/2” lines off Eng 5. Eng. 1 brought in feeder for our pump.
Eng 6 boosted pump at Ligon Bldg. on St. Marys. Damage
unestimated. With Hailey, May, Hicks, Moore.
- 4/9 - 6 - 1815 - Truck #6 responded to Cameron St. Fire
in new apt. bldg.. Complete loss.
- 4/9 - Sta 4 - 1820 - #4 responded on 2nd alarm to rear
of 700 St. Mary’s Street with Capt. Godwin, Partin,
Burchette, Thornton. (Look to Eng #5)
- 4/9 - Sta 5 - 1820 - Truck 5 responded to above alarm by
radio with J. W. House, M. J. Frazier, Price [?]. Charlie
Bradshaw responded to call off-duty. All personnel from
Truck 5 were used to move a 2 1/2” hand line off Eng. 5.
- 4/9 - Sta 2 - 1830 - 1830 Responded by tel. [to] 1111
Walnut Terrace with W. R. Mabrey, J. E. Carroll, R. I.
Upchurch, C. B. Edwards, R. A. Stanley.
- 4/9 - Sta 6 - 1830 - Eng 6 responded to radio alarm on
Cameron St. Used 1150 feet 2 1/2” hose. Pump time 300 min.
Look to Eng #5.
- 4/9 - Sta 4 - 2030 - #4 filled in at Sta #6.
- 4/9 - Sta 4 - 2130 - #4 returned to quarters. Reload 2
1/2 hose, 1,400 feet at #1.
- 4/10 - Sta 2 - 1029 - Responded Tel. 1400 block S.
Blount St. – Wet down previous fire – C. R. Boseman, Moody,
- 4/10 - Sta 4 - 1215 - Jones went to Drs. to get a shot.
- 4/10 - Sta 4 - 1240 - Jones returned to quarters.
- 4/10 - Sta 6 - 1500 - Received 27 sections of wet hose.
- 4/10 - Sta 3 - 1809 - Tel. call to 732 St. George Rd.
10-97 – 6:14 p.m. Gas fire, out on arrival, no damage. Kids
- 4/11 - Sta 3 - 0808 - Received new lawn mower this date.
- 4/11 - Sta 5 - 1135 - Auto brought to fire station with
back seat on fire. Ext. with bucket of water. Car belong to
[owner name, address, license tag]. Corvair auto.
- 4/11 - Sta 5 - 1725 - Eng 5 ans. tel. call to Raleigh
apt annex. Insulation boards burning. Used booster to ext.
With Walker, Dixon, T. A. Stephenson, Adams.
- 4/11 - Sta 2 - 1853 - Engine 2 responded to tel call at
1431 S. Blount with T. W. House, Carroll, Upchurch, Edwards,
and Stanley. Found trash burning from warehouse fire. Used
booster [one] hour. No further damage.
- 4/11 - Sta 2 - 2000 - Received call by radio to go to
Blount & Lee, found trash burning there. Used 5 sec. 2 1/2”
hose, 150 feet of 1 1/2” hose, 1 hour 10 min, used booster,
and two hand lights, short pike pole.
In 1968, Fire Station 2 was located in the rear of Memorial
Auditorium. (It would be relocated one year later to Pecan Road,
a more strategically located site about a mile south.) Their
fire station was located just a couple blocks from where the
riots started, and the members of Engine 2 took personal
precautions while on duty. They moved their personal vehicles
inside the station to prevent vandalism, for example.
Retired members recall answering a lot of the calls without
any police or National Guard escort and "definitely without a
chief's car in sight." One adds, "one morning I came to work and
[a soldier] had someone spread eagle in the middle of the street
beside the fire station."
News & Observer photo
Fire Calls Research
View chart (pdf)
comparing data from the fire department and the Raleigh
View compiled Raleigh Times data:
View interactive map
Street Map From 1971
Newspaper Front Pages
Stories Not Told
There are many other stories that were told, in the coverage
of these events, as reported by the News & Observer and
Times. Such as calls for peace and unity from local leaders. As
well as their requests for reducing the presence of police and
soldiers. Reactions to the death of Dr. King were prominent in
stories during those first few days. Economic impact from the
curfew was covered, as were the effects of the alcohol ban.
There were personal stories of National Guard members, and even
their wives. And more.
- Raleigh city directories
- Raleigh Fire Department records.
- News & Observer (N&O) stories
- Raleigh Times (RT) stories
- Wikipedia, "King Assassination Riots"
- April 5 - N&O - "Negro Riot Brings Curfew in Raleigh"
- April 5 - N&O - "A Riot Has an Ugly Face"
- April 5 - RT - "Curfew to Be Here Again Tonight"
- April 5 - RT - "Part of Raleigh Was No Man's Land As Word Spread"
- April 5 - RT - "City Police Quick to React"
- April 6 - N&O - "N.C. Guard, Curfew Curb Raleigh "“ Tear Gas Used on Mob"
- April 6 - N&O - "Moore Halts Liquor Sales; King's Death Called Cruel"
- April 6 - N&O - "Singing Negro Students March Here"
- April 6 - N&O - "City Takes Steps to Curb Violence"
- April 6 - N&O - "Guardsmen Got Little Sleep"
- April 6 - RT - "Curfew Here Again Tonight"
- April 6 - RT - "Damage Was Light"
- April 6 - RT - "Raleigh Business Hurt by Tension"
- April 6 - RT - "The Calls Came, Came and Came"
- April 7 - N&O - "Rioting Brings N.C. Guard"
- April 7 - N&O - "Scattered Incidents Mark Quiet Here"
- April 8 - N&O - "Warehouse Burns in Raleigh; Curfew is Imposed"
- April 8 - N&O - "N.C. Guard Sees Duty in 6 Cities"
- April 8 - N&O - "Bomb Hoax Interrupts Services"
- April 8 - N&O - "White Students' March Halted; Moore Aide Presented Petition"
- April 8 - RT - "Curfew Continues"
- April 8 - RT - "Embers Still Smolder"
- April 8 - RT - "Curfew Hitting Raleigh Purses"
- April 9 - N&O - "City Takes Steps To Curb Violence"
- April 9 - N&O - "4,300 N.C. Guardsmen on Duty"
- April 9 - N&O - "Damage Reports Pile Up"
- April 9 - N&O - "Business Hurt by Curfews"
- April 9 - RT - "Those Who Nip Would Settle for a Drop"
- April 9 - RT - "Curfew Again Tonight"
- April 9 - RT - "Ban Draw Reactions"
- April 9 - RT - "All Quiet on Raleigh Front"
- April 10 - N&O - "Loss Placed at $200,000 In Apartments Fire Here"
- April 10 - N&O - "Curfew Hours Cut by Raleigh Mayor"
- April 10 - RT - "Curfew is Lifted"
- April 10 - RT - "Firemen Probe Apartment Fire"
- April 10 - RT - "'I'm Not Angry With Anyone'"
- April 10 - RT - "Police Arrest 29 Last Night"
- April 11 - N&O - "Fire Probed For Arson"
- April 11 - N&O - "Some Curfews Are Lifted"
- April 11 - RT - "Raleigh Firemen Held Own"
- April 12 - N&O - "N.C. Guardsmen Return to Homes"
- April 12 - N&O - "Imbibers Toast End of Booze Ban"
- April 13 - N&O - "Three Charged Here With Warehouse Fire"
- April 13 - N&O - "Emergency Declared At End Here"
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Copyright 2019 by Michael J. Legeros