Newark is a fast-paced industrial city, known for being the largest city in the state of New Jersey and for holding the headquarters prominent businesses such as Prudential. In addition to Newark's greatness, however, comes a history of shame, discrimination, violence, and anarchy. Newark was once a social war zone between police officers, and protesters who were black and white known as the infamous Newark Riots of 1967. This social outcry for justice and equality cost the city of Newark property damage, hundreds of injured civilians, and even a number of deaths that took innocent children, men and women. The actual story of despair and injustice had a long history in the city of Newark before the six days of rioting. According to John Cunningham, Newark nearly had all-white political and business leadership boasting throughout the 1960s that Newark stood alone among major northern cities in an absence of "trouble in the streets." In sharp contrast, Dr. King's assessment of the northern cities in the spring of 1967 included an ominous prediction: Newark would be one of the ten cities likely to feel the wrath of the violence.
It is the despair and inequality that African Americans were burdened with that caused a feeling of nothing to lose and despair among the African American community which resulted in violence and anarchy. Although many witnessed violence, destroyed property, and terror during the summer of 1967, this was nothing new to the African American community in Newark in comparison of what they witnessed day by day. The problems that included inequality, poverty, police brutality, poor education, violence, drugs, no political representation, industrial Newark, and unemployment were the foundations of the Newark Riots. This paper will be using primary and secondary sources of all aspects of the problems that eventually led to the Newark Riots. All these problems in the African American communities coincided and created a disaster. The actual event that sparked the Newark riots, which was police brutality against an African American cab driver, was only the tip of the ice berg; African Americans felt the public beating and arrest of an innocent black man was the final straw and decided not only to act for the justice of what happen to the cab driver but also for the problems that had existed in their communities for years.
Inequality was a very general aspect of Newark during the 1960's. Blacks and whites were very segregated and resided in different parts of Newark. The races usually socialized separately, there was not much interaction with white and blacks, but there still was a larger distinction between the two races. Whites were more privileged and dominated the black race. This meant whites received better education and better jobs. Blacks were kept in an inferior position to their white counterparts all across the world as history will infer.
Black inequality in Newark, as in the United States in general, had been present since the time of slavery.
According to Andre da Silva "After the abolishment of slavery and the assertion of racial inequality, the white race still dominated the political, social, and economic status of the Black race. White people could not accept Black people as equals. Since Whites were already in power, they used and abused their power to keep the Black race as weak as possible. The White political machine of Newark was able to control the livelihood of the Black community through the educational system." The inequality was also seen in the communities, limiting the migration of blacks. According to Nathan Wright "Seven of Newark's twelve neighbor hoods have reflected a pattern of white entrenchment or a holding of the line against an "invasion" by the growing black population. These communities form almost a complete ring around the central core of Newark where the overwhelming majority of the city's black population resides."