The Peekskill Riots: Episode One

Saturday, April 67:00—8:00 PMCommunity roomPutnam Valley Library30 Oscawana Lake RD, Putnam Valley , NY, 10579

Join The The Putnam Valley Library in welcoming documentary filmmaker, Jon Scott Bennett for the in-person viewing of The Peekskill Riots: Episode One, The Mighty Oak in the Forest. 

On September 4th, 1949, violence broke out at a concert held outside Peekskill, NY, headlined by black singer, actor, and activist Paul Robeson. Roughly 20,000-30,000 people attended. Many citizens of the Peekskill area, galvanized by long-standing prejudices and Robeson’s left-wing views and campaign for civil rights, engaged in acts of violence and hatred toward attendees. The riots resulted in over 150 injuries, made national news, and unofficially marked the beginning of the McCarthy-era anti-communist campaigns, which would nearly erase Robeson from the public consciousness. Men, women, and children alike were caught in the frenzy of a decades-old bitter hatred that had finally risen to the surface.

This first episode of a 5-part docu-series will serve not only as an introduction to the story of the concerts, but it will also introduce the headlining performer, Paul Robeson, the first and last casualty of The Peekskill Riots.

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