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Mayor Ras J. Baraka Marches in Commemoration of 50th Anniversary of 1967 Newark Rebellion
Community march through Central Ward memorializes causes, effects and casualties of the historic event
July 12, 2017 – NEWARK, N.J. – This afternoon, Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Newark City Council President Mildred Crump, Junius Williams, producer of archival project, The North, and Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP), led activists and community members on a march through the Central Ward in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Newark Rebellion. Nearly 100 people participated, including Kimberly Spellman, daughter of Eloise Spellman, a pregnant mother of 11 who was shot and killed by law enforcement during the Rebellion while looking out her window.
Gathering at the Rebellion Monument located at the crossroads of Springfield Ave., 15th Ave. and Irvine Turner Blvd., community leaders reflected on the Rebellion’s victims and far-reaching effects.
“The ad hoc committee on Newark’s history has planned a five-day series of events to commemorate the 1967 Newark Rebellion to remind people of the importance of those same five days 50 years ago,” said Junius Williams, Esq. of the Ad Hoc Committee for Newark’s History.
“Rutgers Prof. Clem Price called the Rebellion the most significant event in 20th century Newark. We want to teach the lessons learned – especially to a new generation, and especially as the ‘new Newark’ unfolds, built upon the politics that emerged from that moment in history.”
In honor of the 50th anniversary, the annual march began with speeches from Council President Crump, Junius Williams, and Lawrence Hamm. The crowd then marched to the Newark Police Department First Precinct located nearby on 17th Ave., where additional community activists addressed the marchers. Participants then returned to the monument to fellowship and hear Mayor Baraka speak.
“This is of course, an important opportunity to remember what happened in the past, but it is much more important to draw lessons from those events for the future,” said Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress.
“This is not our first Rebellion Memorial March, but we hope that residents who saw us out will be inspired and encouraged to get together with their neighbors and families and take advantage of the remaining learning opportunities during this milestone commemoration.
The Newark Rebellion of 1967 was one of many that erupted in major cities across the country during the explosive summer of 1967. On July 12, 1967, the police beating and arrest of cab driver, John Smith sparked Newark’s five days of unrest. All told, the uproar led to 26 deaths, an armed U.S. military response and more than $10 million in property damage, and pushed the city, state, and national government to address the racial and social tensions underlying the discontent.
This week’ 50th Anniversary commemorative events are sponsored by the Ad Hoc Committee for Newark’s History, which includes The North. The public can find out more information on the events by calling 973-353-3520.
The march was part of a slate of events commemorating the half-century since the unrest sparked by the arrest and beating of cab driver, John Smith on July 12, 1967:
- Tuesday, July 11 – Interfaith Inaugural Prayer and Memorial Service
with Mayor Ras J. Baraka (Abyssinian Baptist Church, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.)
- Thursday, July 13 – Special Edition of WBGO Radio’s Newark Today:
Summer of ‘67 Forum with (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.