Lillie Belle Allen Essay

1234 Words5 Pages

Kennedy Johnson
Mr. Vernon
3 June 2015

Commemorating Lillie Belle Allen
There were tensions between whites and blacks throughout the country in the 1960’s. There were race riots in many states; but it was uncommon for there to be race riots in a city as little as York, Pa. In 1969, a black, unarmed woman named Lillie Belle Allen got shot in her chest by white gang members while coming home from shopping with her sister. It took 32 years before she and her family received justice and the culprits that shot her received their charges; that is why her death should be commemorated. Tensions between whites and blacks increased in the 1960’s. In York it got to the point where whites would not let blacks through their neighborhood …show more content…

There was a lot of controversy and the Lillie Belle Allen situation had died down for 32 years until Mayor Charles Robertson admitted he shouted “White Power” in a rally the night before the shooting, but denied having any part in the fatal shooting. (Strong, Kim) Another man, Rick Knouse, was charged in the case. He told the grand jury that the mayor gave him the same rifle ammunition that Knouse used to fire at Allen and had told him to ''kill as many niggers as you can.'' (Strong, Kim) Mayor Robertson also told a group of youths before the rally, ''If I weren't a cop, I would be leading commando raids against blacks in black neighborhoods.” (Strong, Kim) He of course denies saying any of this. At a news conference after his arrest, he, 67, denounced the charges. Since the riots, he has stated, ''The whole community has changed for the better. 'My job,'' he said, ''is to comfort and heal the city of York.'' ( Strong, Kim) A young man named Quan Washington, a black resident of York, stated after Mayor Robertson's news conference on Wednesday night, ''I'm living in a racist town, and that upsets me, the mayor should step down immediately.'' ( Wakin, Daniel.) People did not feel safe coming out of their own …show more content…

The city created two benches, one for Allen and one for Schaad; embedded in the granite benches are the names of the two victims. The memorials are peaceful and quiet memorials. It was placed there to remember a very painful and disputable time in the city’s history by giving visitors a quiet, meditative area to think of the lives of the two victims who died and also to sit and talk. “The memorial has been placed less than ¼ of a mile from where Lillie Belle Allen was shot and killed by white gang members.” (Art and Conflict) The city also took a stand and started having youth Unity Marches also to commemorate the two victims that got shot. The Unity March is a march that was organized to promote diversity, equality and nonviolence in York County; the first march was held during the summer of 2001. The annual event remembered Lillie Belle Allen and Officer Henry Schaad, who were killed during the 1969 race riots. “Jana Murray stood at the base of the College Avenue bridge in York on Thursday and recalled the 1969 race riots. She was at the end of the 10th annual and final York Unity March, which included hundreds of people that stopped on the bridge and held a short memorial service to honor victims of the riots and promote acceptance of diversity.” ( TERESA McMINN) Murray, who hosted the final unity march, stated she remembered the riots and "It was a scary time . . .

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