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Looking back at the 1991 Hanover riots, 20 years later - abc27 WHTM

York County

Looking back at the 1991 Hanover riots, 20 years later

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HANOVER, Pa. (WHTM) -

It was 20 years ago when Hanover was at war with itself. The York County town faced two nights of so-called "riots", racial discrimination and hate filled the square.

"Apparently it was a kind of a smoldering conflict between two groups that only later ignited," said Pastor Bruce Brouchard with Grace United Church of Christ.

abc27 covered the story as it unfolded. It reportedly started with a group of bikers in Hanover's square. They confronted a group of men, mostly black, and racial slurs were exchanged. Eleven people were arrested. People got angry. The following night, there were more hateful words, more arrests, and reports of bricks thrown from a roof.

"Knowing someone that was in an interracial relationship at that time, they really didn't feel comfortable going places in Hanover. They would hang out more in Maryland," said Elizabeth Tudor, of Hanover, who was 10 years old when the riots happened.

But hope bloomed from the chaos. A group called Hanover United was formed.

"Our real concern was not simply to whitewash that the fact that something bad might have happened in our community, but to really deal with it and set the tone for a community that was about equality and diversity," Brouchard said.

The group only split up a few years ago, many feeling it was no longer needed.

"It was a pretty significant difficulty, that time," said Henry McLin of Hanover. "But I think we're maturing like a lot of communities are. Times have changed, and Hanover's changing with them."

"Hanover really did a great deal of leadership in helping other communities understand how you deal with ethnic conflict and the ways to promote equality, diversity, and non-violence," Brouchard said.

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