After the Riots

by Joey George


We all know what Newark looked like after the riots, so there is no need to waste space on that. In my first posting I indicated that "the entire fabric of what made this city so wonderful lay in ruins." I feel compelled to go further on this.

The aftermath of the riots resulted in a devastating blow to racial relations in the city. Or may I say it produced a lack of racial relations. Some of the Whites that stayed purchased arms. The North Ward Citizens Committee ("NWCC") headed by Tony Imperiale became a fortress of protection for North Ward residents. Racially motivated fighting erupted all over the place.

I attended Barringer High from 1966-1969. Demographically, Barringer's racial mix roughly mirrored that of the City (50%/50%). Well, for those that can remember, the two school years following the riots transformed Barringer from a peaceful school to a war zone. There weren't only isolated fights, there were FIGHTS. And, in many cases the fighting was instigated by the White students. Yes, the riots produced a militancy amongst the White population that was nurtured by the NWCC. The fighting was so bad at times that the school was closed down on several occasions.

The feeling in the North Ward was a feeling of being at war. It wasn't a nice time, believe me. White students coming or exiting the south entrance (aka the Black's entrance) of the school (by Sixth Ave) were being intimidated by the Black students, while Black students coming or exiting on the north entrance (aka the White's entrance) were intimidated by White students. This, a school that before July 1967 was largely peaceful!

I give you Barringer as an example of what in a small nutshell happened to Newark. The reason for White Flight is so totally obvious. It was due to fear. Subconscious prejudices in both Whites and Blacks came to the surface. As a White individual, my feelings as well as the feelings of many others I knew was "we've got to get out of here." Newark became an unlivable horror. The wounds did not heal the day the riots ended. The riots created a terminal social malignancy in Newark.

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