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Queen city riot

Chris Auman

Mark Twain was Right Dan P. Moore

Mark Twain Was Right
Dan P. Moore

The 2001 Cincinnati riots were prematurely relegated to the footnotes of American history, despite earning distinction as the largest display of urban unrest in the emerging 21st century, and the worst since the L.A. riots almost a decade prior. After the looting ended, lawsuits were filed and boycotts were launched and surely Fox News pundits had their fair share of words in defense of the cops on the street. Then suddenly, at the end of that summer, we had much bigger fish to fry and a lot of things dropped off the front page on September 12.

Dan P. Moore didn’t forget those chaotic times. As a young activist, still in high school, Moore was an eye witness to much of what went on in the days leading up to, and following, the civil unrest in his hometown. The spark that set off this powder keg was the shooting death of unarmed, twenty-year-old Timothy Thomas—the fifteenth young black man to die at the hands, or in the custody of, the Cincinnati Police Department in the previous six years.

Day-by-day and chapter-by-chapter, Moore fits together the pieces of the puzzle and constructs a story of racial profiling, economic segregation and the resulting civil and uncivil protest. Moore saw and felt the boiling anger on the streets of Cincinnati’s impoverished Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. What Moore was not a first-hand witness to, he accounts for through interviews with those who were there; activists, community leaders and the people on the street.

Moore is still growing as an artist, his style can be a little rough at times, but his journalistic instincts and story-telling chops make this graphic novel a compelling account of an important event in U.S. race relations. Like Joe Sacco's Footnotes in Gaza, Moore, doesn't let us forget the smaller, forgotten battles in the larger struggle.

BUY: Mark Twain Was Right


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