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A Walk Through Newark - with David Hartman and Historian Barry Lewis
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Colonial Founding
Industrial Revolution
The Riots
2002 and Beyond

National Guardsmen and state troopers arrived on the second day of rioting, sealing off part of the city and opening fire on rioters.
1967 went down in history as one of the nation's most notorious long, hot summers.

Two years after the infamous 1965 riots in Watts, Los Angeles, racial tension erupted in violence in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Washington D.C. - over all, 125 cities experienced riots in 1967. The two most well known and destructive uprisings occurred in Detroit and Newark.



The four-day riots resulted in 26 deaths, over 1,000 injuries, and well more than $10 million in damages.
Naturally, this violence can't be blamed on a heat wave, but the uncomfortable weather that summer undoubtedly played a part in amplifying the community's already high-pitched tensions. Housing segregation, which had begun when African Americans started moving to Newark in 1870, had concentrated Newark's African American community into one of the country's poorest ghettos. In 1967, Newark had the nation's highest percentage of substandard housing, and the second highest rates of crime and infant mortality. That July, purported police brutality involving the arrest of an African American cab driver charged with assaulting a police officer plunged the city into four days of violence and destruction.

Although deteriorated housing, high unemployment, inferior schools, a corrupt municipal government, and a lack of political power set the scene for the violence of '67, two issues that summer had particularly elevated Newark's racial tension. One involved the mayor's selection for the position of secretary of the school board, a matter that nearly caused a fight between blacks and whites at a June meeting. The other regarded the city's plans to construct the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry on a 50-acre plot in the Central Ward that the African American community felt should be used for housing.

The riots began as a crowd of around 200 assembled outside the Fourth Precinct station house to protest the arrest of the cab driver with chants of "police brutality." Rocks and bottles were thrown, and the crowd was eventually dispersed. Yet, that night bands of angry looters caroused through the city, smashing windows (mostly of liquor stores), strewing merchandise in the streets, and pulling fire alarms.

Police guarded the firemen fighting hundreds of blazes around the city.
The following day the violence moved into Newark's business district, and the mayor called for support from the National Guard and state troopers. Fires sprang up all over the city. On the third day, National Guardsmen and state troopers opened fire on rioters. African American business owners started writing "soul bro" on their storefronts in the hope of preventing looting.

The four-day riot left 26 people dead - including 10-year-old Edward Moss. Over 1,000 were injured, and the city incurred more than $10 million in property damaged.




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