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In pre-Civil War Washington D.C., free blacks ran successful businesses despite the continuation of the slave trade around them. In 1835, a drunken slave entered his mistress' bedroom with an ax, setting in motion events that would lead to the city's first race riot. We learn about the fascinating, and nearly forgotten, characters involved in the incident and its aftermath.
Excerpted from "Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835" by Jefferson Morley. Copyright © 2012 by Jefferson Morley. Excerpted by permission of Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.