The Philadelphia Nativist Riots were a series of riots that took place between May 6 and 8 and July 6 and 7, 1844 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States and the adjacent districts of Kensington and Southwark. The riots were a result of rising anti-Catholic sentiment at the growing population of Irish Catholic immigrants. In the months prior to the riots, nativist groups had been spreading a rumor that Catholics were trying to remove the Bible from public schools. A nativist rally in Kensington erupted in violence on May 6 and started a deadly riot that would result in destruction of two Catholic churches and numerous other buildings. Riots erupted again in July after it was discovered that St. Philip Neri's Catholic Church in Southwark had armed itself for protection. Fierce fighting broke out between the nativists and the soldiers sent to protect the church, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. Grand juries investigating the riots found that fault lay mainly with the Irish Catholic population. However, nationally the riots helped fuel criticism of the nativist movement despite denials from nativist groups of responsibility. The riots made the deficiencies in law enforcement in Philadelphia and the surrounding districts readily apparent, influencing various reforms in local police departments and the eventual consolidation of the city in 1854.
Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career. He was born as Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts; he was orphaned young when his mother died shortly after his father abandoned the family. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, but they never formally adopted him. He attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. After enlisting in the Army and later failing as an officer's cadet at West Point, Poe parted ways with the Allans. Poe's publishing career began humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to "a Bostonian". Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move between several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. In January 1845, Poe published his poem "The Raven" to instant success. On October 7, 1849, at age 40, Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents. Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography.