The Fairport 'race riot' that never happened

17 hours ago
The Fairport Herald

A century ago on Tuesday, a young Black man named James Noey was shot and killed by a white police officer amid a massive brawl on Main Street in Fairport.

The melee, in which young men from Rochester squared off with residents of some eastside suburbs, was huge news in its day. Nearly every detail of the incident and the ensuing legal proceedings made headlines over the course of a year.

Max Schulte/WXXI News

Anyone setting eyes for the first time on the historical marker denoting the Abner Wight Home in Fairport could have been forgiven for doing a double-take.

The marker, out front of a handsome yellow colonial on South Main Street, was one of those ubiquitous blue and gold cast-iron plaques that New York state handed out between 1926 and 1969 to seemingly anyone offering a scintilla of evidence that history “happened here.”

provided photo

The village of Fairport is celebrating the completion of the first phase of its Bicentennial Canal Gateway Project.

"We are the jewel of the canal," said Mayor Julie Domaratz. "Well, we're putting some new sparkles on the jewel."

The southwest Erie Canal bank has new lighting and landscaping, a non-motorized boat dock and interpretive heritage trail lined with granite markers indicating significant dates in the history of the village and the canal.

Fairport Central School District

The Fairport Central School District said it will be “infeasible” to return to regular in-person classes this fall, and the district is now weighing options for virtual learning.

Superintendent Brett Provenzano said the district’s schools lack the space necessary to meet New York state’s physical distancing requirements to decrease the chances of novel coronavirus transmission.

Photo provided by Tiffany Porter

Tiffany Porter was two years old when her family moved to Fairport in 1985. From the beginning, her family experienced racism.

“When we first moved into The Pines. Somebody killed a cat and wiped our window with the word ‘N----’ with the cat blood and left the cat there,” Porter said.

Now, Porter is a mother of three boys in Fairport. While racism has become less overt over the years, she said that she still has to endure the consequences of racial inequity.

Renée Heininger/CITY Newspaper

Fairport is charged up about electric vehicles.

The 14450 ZIP code, which covers the village as well as the town of Perinton, boasts 263 registered electric vehicles, according to data published by the state. Of upstate ZIP codes, only Pittsford and Ithaca have more, with 293 and 385, respectively.

But Fairport has something that neither of the other two communities have -- a municipal electric company that provides residents with low-cost power. That's an attractive asset when it comes to vehicles that run on a charge rather than a tank of gas.