Before And After The Newark Riots

1944 words - 8 pages

Once called the Public Housing capital in the United States, Newark was receiving more money than any other city from the federal government to clear slums and build public housing complexes. People like Louis Danzig who was the head of the Newark Housing Authority (NHA) used the federal funds the city received to destroy low income housing of minorities in Newark, then build public housing on the outskirts of the city putting all the poor minorities in these areas. The police brutalized the cities African-American citizens numerous times with no repercussions. The city was being segregated and African-American Newark residents started to feel more and more marginalized. In 1967 things finally came to ahead as an African-American cab driver was arrested and beat badly by the Newark Police Department and when rumor spread that he had died in police custody. Though the cab driver was in fact brought to the hospital, a group gathered out in front of the police station and started throwing bricks and other objects at the police station. The riot went on for six days and has shaped the image of Newark to this day the riots have given the city a negative appearance that still lingers.
The major factors that led to the Newark riots were numerous urban renewal played a huge role in creating the tension which caused the riots. Louis Danzig the man in charge of clearing the slums in the central ward and providing public housing to those who would be removed from the areas marked for renewal by the city, played a large part in the unraveling of Newark. Danzig was split apart the African-American community in the central ward sending the residents from there all over the city to different public housing projects which were poorly placed and designed. (Tuttle, 2009) Danzig seemed more concerned with keeping the flow of federal housing money into Newark than meeting the needs of the citizens who he was moving then subsequently building new houses for. African American community leaders viewed Danzig’s projects and the cities plans for urban renewal negatively, protesting that urban renewal was “Negro Removal”. The city in the 60’s was more concerned with increasing highway access to the city and accommodating the shift of population in New Jersey, which was moving from the cities to the suburbs with acts like the 1955 Highway Act being approved and making the country more car friendly. The central ward was chosen by the city to be an area where the city would revitalize its economy as it tried to transition away from an industrial economy. (Tuttle, 2009)
The residents in Newark reported that housing conditions were one of the main reasons the 1967 riot took place with more than half of the citizens polled citing the housing quality as a reason for rioting. The dwellings they were living in were not taken care of and many landlords at the time decided to burn their buildings down and collect the insurance money instead of fix them up for their tenants....

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