The Cincinnati Riot of 1829 were triggered by competition between Irish immigrants and Black Americans for jobs in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States but also were related to white fears given the rapid increases of free and fugitive blacks in the city. In 1820, approximately 433 Black Americans called Cincinnati home.
Between 1820 and 1829, there was a rapid increase of the black population in Cincinnati, Ohio. The number of blacks in Cincinnati increased from 433 to 2,258 during this decade, while the total city population increased from 9,642 to 24,831 in 1829.
Working class whites, mainly Irish Immigrants, where concerned about job competition. Because of work opportunities generated by the steamboat industry and shipping , Cincinnati had the largest black population of any city. Irish immigrants and blacks both competed for housing in poor neighborhoods along the river, as most workers lived within walking distance of their work. In 1826, 46% of the First Ward residents were Black American; this area was close to the river and had an African Methodist Episcopal Church. White residents petitioned and complained to city officials to remove all black citizens, claiming that their shacks and poor living conditions were fire hazards. White Citizens also petitioned government officials to enforce the 1807 Black Code that required black residents to pay a $500 bond to serve as proof of their respectable nature.
On June 30, Charles Hammond wrote in the Cincinnati Daily Gazette informing all black residents that they had 30 days to pay the bond or be forced to leave the city.
In 1828, the black community considered relocating to rural Ohio to create a black settlement they would call “Africania”. These plans never came to light. A man named James Charles Brown led the relocation effort in the summer of 1829. In June the black community chose two representatives, Israel Lewis and Thomas Crissup, to survey land in upper Canada for a colony settlement. It was while Lewis and Crissup was in Canada surveying the land that the Gazette issued their ultimatum. Brown appealed to the public for a three-month extension in order to be able to identify other places for relocation, and ran daily notices from July to August 10 about their progress.
White Cincinnatians were unsympathetic and filled with unknown hate, rather than let the black citizens relocate in peace, from August 15 to August 22, mobs of 200-300 whites attacked the black neighborhoods, wanting to push the African American out of the city. The Police offered black residents no protection from the mob, and the mayor of Cincinnati Jacob Burnet, refused to call for an end to the violence.
By the end of August, 1100 to 1500 blacks left Cincinnati, because of the violence, seeking shelter in other parts of United States. Another group, which had already considering emigration, organized and relocated to Canada.