|1967 Newark riots|
|Part of the "Long Hot Summer of 1967" during the Civil Rights Movement|
|Date||July 12–17, 1967|
|Caused by||Beating of a black man by police|
|Methods||Rioting, arson, shooting, assault, rock throwing|
|Resulted in||See Aftermath and impact|
|Parties to the civil conflict|
The 1967 Newark riots was one of 159 race riots that swept cities in the United States during the "Long Hot Summer of 1967". This riot occurred in Newark, New Jersey, between July 12 and July 17, 1967. Over the four days of rioting, looting, and property destruction, 26 people died and hundreds were injured.
In the decades leading up to the riots, deindustrialization and suburbanization were major contributors to changes in Newark's demographics. White middle-class residents left for other towns across North Jersey, in one of the largest examples of white flight in the country. Due to the legislation of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, white veterans, who had just returned from fighting in World War II, began to emigrate from Newark to the suburbs where there was improved access to interstate highways, low-interest mortgages, and colleges.The outflow suburban sprawl of white veterans from Newark was rapidly replaced with an influx of black people moving into the Central Ward; the black people, however, faced discrimination in jobs and housing, ultimately making their lives more likely to fall into a cycle of poverty. By 1967, Newark was one of the United States' first majority-black cities, but was still controlled by white politicians.
Racial profiling, redlining, and lack of opportunity in education, training, and jobs led the city's African-American residents to feel powerless and disenfranchised. In particular, many felt they had been largely excluded from meaningful political representation and often subjected to police brutality.
Unemployment and poverty were very high, with the traditional manufacturing base of the city having been fully eroded and withdrawn by 1967. Further fueling tensions was the decision by the state of New Jersey to clear tenement buildings from a vast tract of land in the Central Ward to build the new University of Medicine and Dentistry. Thousands of low-income African American residents were displaced at a time when housing in Newark was aging and subjected to high tax rates.[ citation needed ]
Many African Americans, especially younger community leaders, felt they had remained largely disenfranchised in Newark, despite massive changes in the city's demographic makeup. Mayor Hugh Addonizio, to date the last white mayor of the city, took few steps to adjust to the changes and provide African Americans with civil leadership positions and better employment opportunities.[ citation needed ]
Despite being one of the first cities in the country to hire black police officers, the department's demographics remained at odds with the city's population, leading to poor relations between black people and the police department. Only 145 of the 1,322 police officers in the city were black (11%), mirroring national demographics,while the city grew to be over 50% black. Black leaders were increasingly upset that the Newark Police Department remained dominated by white officers, who would routinely stop and question black youths with or without provocation.
The riots in Newark occurred 2 years after riots in Los Angelesand came at a time when racial tensions were high. Historians believe that the shrinking of the economy, increased unemployment, and a city with a majority African American population which was being run by white politicians increased tensions during that era.
This unrest and social change came to a head when two white Newark police officers, John DeSimone and Vito Pontrelli, arrested a black cab driver, John William Smith, on the evening of July 12.After signaling, Smith passed the double parked police car, after which he was pursued and pulled over by the officers. He was arrested, beaten by the officers and taken to the 4th Police Precinct, where he was charged with assaulting the officers and making insulting remarks.
Residents of Hayes Homes, a large public housing project, saw an incapacitated Smith being dragged into the precinct, and a rumor was started that he had been beaten to death while in police custody. The rumor spread quickly, and a large crowd soon formed outside the precinct. At this point, accounts vary, with some saying that the crowd threw rocks through the precinct windows and police then rushed outside wearing hard hats and carrying clubs.Others say that police rushed out of their station first to confront the crowd, and then they began to throw bricks, bottles, and rocks.
A person who had witnessed the arrest of Smith contacted members of the Congress of Racial Equality, the United Freedom Party, and the Newark Community Union Project for further investigation; they were subsequently granted access to Smith's 4th Precinct holding cell.After seeing the injuries Smith sustained from the police, they demanded him to be moved to Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, and were granted their request.
At least five police officers were struck by stones, according to one officer. Some residents went to City Hall and shouted angry protests. After midnight false alarms caused fire engines to race around a six-block area along Belmont Avenue. Looters smashed windows of a few stores and threw merchandise onto sidewalks. According to police, liquor stores were the main target of looters.As the rumors were dispelled, things calmed.
On July 12, a march was organized to protest Smith's beatings and police brutality in the city. During the rally, an unknown woman smashed the windows of the 4th Precinct with a metal bar.Looting began soon after and spread quickly along Springfield Avenue, the neighborhood's business district. Molotov cocktails were thrown into shops and entire buildings soon caught fire. A car was burned and shortly after a policeman was injured by a flying brick. In response, shotguns were issued to some police officers. By midnight, looting spread to other areas in proximity to the march and all police were placed on emergency duty. At 1:00 A.M. police were told to "fire if necessary." Within the next two hours, New Jersey Army National Guardsmen and New Jersey State Police troopers were dispatched to deal with the crowds.
Early in the evening of July 15, a woman named Rebecca Brown was killed in a fusillade of bullets directed at the window of her second-floor apartment. Rebecca Brown's death instigated even greater backlash and discord. By the sixth day, riots, looting, violence, and destruction left a total of 16 civilians, 8 suspects, a police officer, and a firefighter dead; 353 civilians, 214 suspects, 67 police officers, 55 firefighters, and 38 military personnel injured; and 689 civilians and 811 suspects arrested and property damage is expected to have exceeded $10 million.
Photographer Bud Lee was in Newark along with Life reporter Dale Wittner during the riots. There, Lee took several grim photos of a police officer gunning down 24-year-old William Furr, who was caught in an act of stealing a six pack of beer from the ransacked Mack's Liquors store; both Lee and Wittner had earlier met Furr who barged into the latter's conversation with a Black Muslim man regarding the rioting situation. He also shot a photo of a 12-year-old civilian, Joe Bass Jr. who was bleeding on the ground after stray pellets from the policeman's shotgun blast that killed Furr accidentally struck him. Bass survived the wounds and his image became the cover of Life magazine on July 28, 1967.
The riots elicited a strong response from law enforcement organizations. 7,917 members of police and National Guard were deployed, leading to 1,465 arrests and 26 deaths.In an effort to contain the riots, every evening at 6 p.m. the Bridge Street and Jackson Street Bridges, both of which span the Passaic River between Newark and Harrison, were closed until the next morning.
The 1967 Plainfield riots occurred during the same period in Plainfield, New Jersey, a city about 12 miles southwest of Newark during which a police officer was beaten to death. Plainfield native and author Isaiah Tremaine published Insurrection in 2017 as a mournful accounting of the Plainfield riots, and subsequent racial tensions at Plainfield High School, from his perspective as a black teenager living in the city with both white and black friends at the time.
While the riots are often cited as a major factor in the decline of Newark and its neighboring communities, longer-term racial, economic, and political forces contributed towards generating inner city poverty.By the 1960s and 1970s, as industry fled the city, so did the white middle class, leaving behind a poor population. During this same time, the population of many suburban communities in northern New Jersey expanded rapidly.
The riots caused about $10 million in damages ($77 million today) and destroyed multiple plots, several of which are still covered in decay as of 2017.
The ratio of Newark officers respective to their ethnicity has increased as of 2000, when Newark was 52% black, 34% Latino, and 14% white,the Newark Police Department was 37% black, 27% Hispanic and 36% white. As of 2016, the force was still 35% black, while the Latino portion had increased to 41%.
The riots were depicted in the 1997 Philip Roth novel American Pastoral as well as its 2016 film adaptation, directed by and starring Ewan McGregor, alongside Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning.
The events are the setting of one section of the 2017 novel 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster.
Revolution '67 is a feature-length documentary about the riots by Emmy-nominated, Newark-based filmmakers Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno. It premiered on PBS in 2007 as part of its series POV and examines the causes and outcome of the Newark 1967 riots.
The Sopranos episode "Down Neck" features a flashback in which Tony Soprano's mother, Olivia Soprano, is watching the riots live on television.
In March 2018, New Line Cinema and David Chase announced a theatrical prequel to The Sopranos series, set during the riots, called The Many Saints of Newark .
Mass racial violence in the United States, also called race riots, can include such disparate events as:
The 1967 Detroit Riot, also known as the 12th Street Riot, was the bloodiest incident in the "Long, hot summer of 1967". Composed mainly of confrontations between black residents and the Detroit Police Department, it began in the early morning hours of Sunday July 23, 1967, in Detroit, Michigan.
The 1992 Los Angeles riots were a series of riots and civil disturbances that occurred in Los Angeles County in April and May 1992. Unrest began in South Central Los Angeles on April 29, after a trial jury acquitted four officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for usage of excessive force in the arrest and beating of Rodney King, which had been videotaped and widely viewed in TV broadcasts.
The Philadelphia race riot took place in the predominantly black neighborhoods of North Philadelphia from August 28 to August 30, 1964. Tensions between black residents of the city and police had been escalating for several months over several well-publicized allegations of police brutality.
The Washington, D.C., riots of 1968 were a four-day period of civic uprising following the assassination of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. Part of the broader King-assassination riots that affected at least 110 U.S. cities, those in Washington, D.C.—along with those in Chicago and Baltimore—were among those with the greatest numbers of participants.
The Plainfield riots was one of 159 race riots that swept cities in the United States during the "Long Hot Summer of 1967". This riot was a series of racially charged violent disturbances that occurred in Plainfield, New Jersey, which mirrored the 1967 Newark riots in nearby Newark.
The 1943Detroit race riot took place in Detroit, Michigan, of the United States, from the evening of June 20 through the early morning of June 22. It occurred in a period of dramatic population increase and social tensions associated with the military buildup of World War II, as Detroit's automotive industry was converted to the war effort. Existing social tensions and housing shortages were exacerbated by the arrival of nearly 400,000 migrants, both African-American and White Southerners, from the Southeastern United States between 1941 and 1943. The new migrants competed for space and jobs, as well as against European immigrants and their descendants.
The Chicago race riot of 1919 was a violent racial conflict provoked by white Americans against black Americans that began on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois on July 27, and ended on August 3, 1919. During the riot, thirty-eight people died. Over the week, injuries attributed to the episodic confrontations stood at 537, with two-thirds of the injured being black and one-third white, while the approximately 1,000 to 2,000 who lost their homes were mostly black. It is considered the worst of the nearly 25 riots in the United States during the "Red Summer" of 1919, so named because of the racial and labor related violence and fatalities across the nation. The combination of prolonged arson, looting, and murder made it one of the worst race riots in the history of Illinois.
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Long, hot summer of 1967 refers to the 159 race riots that erupted across the United States in 1967. In June there were riots in Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Buffalo, and Tampa. In July there were riots in Birmingham, Chicago, New York City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Britain, Rochester, Plainfield, and Toledo.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit civil rights organization in Newark, New Jersey, and an affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. According to the ACLU-NJ's stated mission, the ACLU-NJ operates through litigation on behalf of individuals, lobbying in state and local legislatures, and community education.
The Knoxville riot of 1919 was a race riot that took place in the American city of Knoxville, Tennessee, on August 30–31, 1919. The riot began when a lynch mob stormed the county jail in search of Maurice Mays, a biracial man who had been accused of murdering a white woman. Unable to find Mays, the rioters looted the jail and fought a pitched gun battle with the residents of a predominantly black neighborhood. The Tennessee National Guard, which at one point fired two machine guns indiscriminately into this neighborhood, eventually dispersed the rioters. At the end of August 1919 the Great Falls Daily Tribune reported four killed in a "race war riot" while the Washington Times reported "Scores dead." Other newspapers placed the death toll at just two, though eyewitness accounts suggest it was much higher.
The Cambridge riot of 1967 was one of 159 race riots that swept cities in the United States during the "Long Hot Summer of 1967". This riot occurred on July 24, 1967 in Cambridge, Maryland, a county seat on the Eastern Shore. For years racial tension had been high in Cambridge, where blacks had been limited to second-class status. Activists had conducted protests since 1961, and there was a riot in June 1963 after the governor imposed martial law. "The Treaty of Cambridge" was negotiated among federal, state, and local leaders in July 1963, initiating integration in the city prior to passage of federal civil rights laws. The events of 1967 were much more destructive to the city.
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The 1967 Milwaukee riot was one of 159 race riots that swept cities in the United States during the "Long Hot Summer of 1967". In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, African American residents, outraged by the slow pace in ending housing discrimination and police brutality, began to riot on the evening of July 30, 1967. The inciting incident was a fight between teenagers, which escalated into full-fledged rioting with the arrival of police. Within minutes, arson, looting, and sniping was ravaging the North Side of the city, primarily the 3rd Street Corridor.
The George Floyd protests are an ongoing series of protests and riots in response to police brutality and racism that began as local protests in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota before spreading throughout the United States and then worldwide. The protests began in Minneapolis on May 26, 2020, after George Floyd died shortly after Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds during an arrest the prior night.
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