The Hough Riots from the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
The HOUGH RIOTS, 18-24 July 1966, were a spontaneous outbreak of violence characterized by vandalism, looting, arson, and sporadic gunfire. Although there had been racial disturbances earlier in the summer, these events proved to be more serious and widespread. The riots were sparked by a dispute over a glass of water at the Seventy-Niners Cafe at Hough Ave. and E. 79th St. on the evening of 18 July, which escalated until the police were unable to deal with the situation. As the crowd grew larger, rock throwing, looting, and vandalism gradually spread throughout the Hough area. The following evening the violence was repeated, with fires set in the area as well as reports of sniper fire.
At the request of Mayor Ralph Locher, the Natl. Guard moved into HOUGH on the morning of 20 July to restore order, and the mayor closed all bars and taverns. After a major fire at Cedar and E. 106th on the 21st, things slowly returned to normal. On Monday, 25 July, those stores in the Hough area that had escaped serious damage reopened, and the Natl. Guard was gradually released from duty. During the riots, 4 people were killed, about 30 were injured, close to 300 were arrested, and approx. 240 fires were reported. There was no evidence that the riots had been planned or controlled by radical groups in Cleveland. However, once they began extremists were in a position to exploit them. The events in Hough were part of a national pattern of racial tension and frustration which produced violence in many parts of the country in 1966.