WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
On a hot late summer day in 1976, a mob of young men — all white except one — descended on Washington Square Park with pipes and bats, and attacked any people of color they could find. Seth Zvi Rosenfeld takes us back to that day, to the cramped Greenwich Village apartment of Mary Shannon, a strung-out, freewheeling single mom, as her son Pnut and his Haitian best friend Massive wrestle with their obligation to join the riot. The boys, torn between loyalty to each other and to the neighborhood, grasp for ways to keep the violence from destroying their friendship forever. Downtown Race Riot is snapshot of a time not so different from today, when a new social freedom ran smack into the forces of reaction and when the stakes were truly life or death.