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Civil War Roundtable: The Cincinnati Dock Riots of 1862 with Dr. Shannon Smith

January 10, 2023 @ 3:15 pm - 5:00 pm

Meeting Overview: In July of 1862, Irish workers in Cincinnati rioted to keep Black workers from laboring on the docks and attempted to “clean out” African American residential sections of the city. A precursor to the more infamous New York draft riots of 1863, the violence was triggered by the prospect of a draft and the rumored arming of Black soldiers. Fearing that their jobs would be threatened by emancipation and an influx of Black workers, immigrant laborers tried to establish themselves as true citizens and African Americans as interlopers. During the Civil War, as at other times in the nation’s history, Black men staked their claims to citizenship on their loyal labor and their armed service—not just in federal armies, but in defense of their homes and livelihoods. When Black workers organized in self-defense, white Cincinnatians quickly formed militia units in response. This wartime rioting followed patterns of antebellum riots, but the emancipation of African Americans and their military service during the war created a clear turning point in Black demands for social citizenship.

Speaker: Shannon Smith is an associate professor of history at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. She teaches courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction in American culture, gender and race in US history, and protest and riots. Her research focuses on how riots and their military response led to the development of the National Guard and how protest has influenced citizenship and belonging in public space.

Meetings are held at the Stearns County History Museum, 235 33rd Ave S, St Cloud.
Note change in starting time:
3:00pm – doors open and opportunity to socialize and interact with fellow members
3:15pm – welcome and “new features”
3:30pm – speaker presentation
4:45pm – adjourn
For more information – contact Andy Ditlevson –, 320-241-8477

Presented by Dr. Shannon Smith, Associate Professor of History, CSB/SJU

Find more details on the program at:

Find the Central MN Civil War Round Table at:

Free and open to the public. Feel free to bring a friend!


January 10, 2023
3:15 pm - 5:00 pm
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Stearns History Museum
235 33rd Ave S
St Cloud, MN 56301 United States
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(320) 253-8424
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