El Paso’s largest race riot remembered 104 years later


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — More than a hundred years ago, the city’s largest racial riot unfolded in Downtown El Paso.

Local historian Fred Morales walked KTSM through the events that led up to the January 13, 1916 riot. He says a mob started to attack a group of Mexicans. The attack was prompted as an act of revenge against a massacre in Mexico that left 18 Americans dead.

By the end of the attack in El Paso, 19 people were arrested for disturbing the peace and thankfully, no deaths were reported.

Morales says there was a very tense relationship between the two countries at the time.

“The time period was one of much turbulence and civil war was going on in Mexico. El Paso, as a matter of fact, was very sensitive to the rebel cause to overthrow Porfirio Diaz and Victoriano Huerta,” said Morales.

Victoriano Huerta was an ex-President and Dictator of Mexico. Morales says that Huerta was on house arrest at a house in the Sunset Heights Historic neighborhood at the time and on that same day he died due to liver disease complications.

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