Press Coverage, Race and Baltimore Black Community's Perception of the 1968 Baltimore Riot

Author/Creator ORCID




History and Geography


Master of Arts

Citation of Original Publication



The Baltimore riot of 1968 was a civil disobedience that lasted for eight days, from April 6 to April 14, 1968. The revolt was a result of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. The assassination triggered what is now known as the Holy Week Uprising, a massive riot that occurred in Washington DC, Chicago, Baltimore, and many other cities across America. This research investigated the press coverage, race, and black community’s perception of the 1968 Baltimore riot. The research sought to analyze the different reactions, perceptions, and interpretations of the riot by the different races and how media organizations reported the civil unrest. The research established that there was a bias in the media coverage of the riot. The research also established that although the assassination Dr. King was the immediate factor responsible for the Baltimore 1968 riot, other reasons like Black oppression, segregation, social inequality, and unemployment were some of the enduring factors responsible for the riot as well. The thesis explores the bias by the media in their coverage of the riot with the purpose of understanding and gaining new insight into how diverse races reacted to the Baltimore riot. This is because the riot had different meanings to different peoples across the racial lines. Sources consulted for this research include newspaper articles, Maryland State archival documents, books, photography, and journal articles. Oral interviews conducted by the University of Baltimore in 2008 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. are also an essential primary source for this research. These interviews captured the firsthand accounts and experiences of several Baltimoreans across the racial line, both black and white, who witnessed or participated in the riot.