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Mayor Ras J. Baraka Keynotes Memorial for 50th Anniversary of 1967 Newark Rebellion
Interfaith prayer and memorial service brings community together to reflect on historic events
July 11, 2017 – NEWARK, N.J. – Tonight Mayor Ras J. Baraka joined Junius Williams, producer of archival project, The North and director of the Abbott Leadership Institute, as well as the Newark Interfaith Alliance, for the Inaugural Interfaith Prayer and Memorial Service to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Newark Rebellion. Mayor Baraka served as the keynote speaker for this evening of devotional remembrance.
The Rebellion, which was sparked by the arrest and beating of cab driver, John Smith, resulted in more than $10 million in property damage, an armed U.S. military response, and 26 deaths.
“Commemoration of the 1967 Newark Rebellion requires us to remember the past, while also teaching and sharing its lessons with our youth,” said Junius Williams, producer of The North and director of the Abbott Leadership Institute. “It is critical that young people growing up in a new Newark, born of the political movement and outcomes of those historic five days, remember those who created the Rebellion, particularly the people who lost their lives fighting for freedom. This is our first official, interfaith prayer memorial. I hope it serves as a catalyst for a tradition of commemoration, as we pass the torch to future generations.”
The memorial was held at the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in the Central Ward, a historically, common meeting place for African-American activists throughout the decades. Community leaders, historians, students and residents representing an array of faith groups and justice organizations gathered to reflect on the five days of unrest and hear remarks from Mayor Baraka.
“Fifty years ago, Newark was a city divided, at war with itself and in decline. Over the ensuing five decades, Newarkers have fought to put our city on the path to renewal,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “Fifty years later, we are a city united, working together as a community to make sure that every resident in every neighborhood benefits from the recent surge in development and investment. Community leaders, downtown corporations, colleges and universities, clergy, schools, community corporations and government agencies provide well-paying jobs for unemployed and underemployed residents.”
The Newark Rebellion of 1967 spread through the city of Newark, NJ that year from July 12 – 17. The unrest stemmed from decades of social and economic inequality, and had wide-reaching effects on Newark, the state of New Jersey, and these United States of America.
The Interfaith Prayer Memorial Service was part of a slate of events commemorating the half-century since the unrest the spread across Newark from July 12 – 17, 1967:
- Tuesday, July 11 – Interfaith Inaugural Prayer and Memorial Service
with Mayor Ras J. Baraka (Abyssinian Baptist Church, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.)
- Wednesday, July 12 – 50th Anniversary Memorial March
(meeting at the Newark Rebellion Memorial, on the crossroads of Springfield Ave., 15th Ave. and Irvine Turner Blvd., 4:30 p.m.)
- Thursday, July 13 – Special Edition of WBGO Radio’s Newark Today:
Summer of ‘67 Forum (Hahne’s Building room 213, 8:00 – 9:30 p.m.)
- Friday, July 14 – They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds: An Intergenerational Conversation on the Newark Rebellion (New Jersey Historical Society, 6:30 p.m.)
- Saturday, July 15 – Voices from the Rebellion Symposium
(Newark Public Library, 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
The North’s mission is to develop a powerful multimedia interactive archive to teach the lessons of African American struggle for empowerment in the nation’s major urban centers in the North, focusing on the era of the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. It is a new educational tool for all people, but primarily for youth in grade school through college and beyond, to enable research and to preserve the record of those people who were “foot soldiers” in the Civil Rights, Black Power and other Movements in the North. We hope educators, students, activists, and historians will use this resource as a means to teach social justice issues through history of the African American struggle for power, and keep these stories alive for generations to come.