The Dastardly Past: the New York Doctor’s Riot.
In April of 1788, a young boy peeps through a window into a dissecting room. The medical student waves a dismembered arm at him and tells him it belonged to the boy’s recently deceased mother. Upon investigation in Trinity Churchyard, the family discovers that the mother’s grave is indeed empty, and public sentiment boils over. In the absence of regulated sources for cadavers, students of “physic,” as it was called then, had necessarily turned to robbing graves for bodies to dissect. As long as the bodies belonged to the poor or to minorities, New Yorkers turned a blind eye. This time an angry mob reacts against the desecration of their loved ones. They march on the hospital and destroy the anatomy room. The incident becomes so heated that it results in a two-day riot. The militia and cavalry finally quell the mob, but not before almost 20 people die.