The Washington, D.C. riots of 1968 were 4 days of riots in Washington, D.C. that followed the assassination of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. The King assassination riots affected at least 110 U.S. cities; Washington, along with Chicago and Baltimore, was among the most affected.
The ready availability of jobs in the growing United States government attracted many people to Washington in the 1960s, and middle class African-American neighborhoods prospered. While the black middle-class community prospered, the lower class was plagued by poor living conditions and fell deeper into poverty. Despite the end of legally mandated racial segregation after the 1954 decision of Brown v. Board of Education, the neighborhoods of Shaw, the Atlas District Northeast corridor, and Columbia Heights remained the centers of African-American commercial life in the city.