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Councilman McLemore on Washington Riots (1968)


Sound | 1968

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  •  Councilman Lee McLemore served 10 consecutive terms on the Houston City Council from 1952 to 1972 
  •  Scene outside the White House 
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In this news segment for Houston’s KPRC-TV, Houston City Councilman Lee McLemore recounts his experience during riots in Washington, DC. In his account, McLemore describes being unable to travel from Friendship International Airport to downtown Washington amid the smoke and crowds. The segment was broadcast on April 9. The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4 triggered a wave of civil disturbances across the country, a phenomenon that came to be known as the Holy Week Uprising. Riots began in Washington that night. By the time calm was restored on April 8, 13 people were dead and thousands more were injured. Some 1,200 buildings were damaged or destroyed, devastating the local economy. Rehabilitation efforts were slow, particularly in African-American neighborhoods. Some damaged corridors took over 30 years to recover.