I also remember the infamous Newark Riots.
Up to this point I never felt unsafe or in any way threatened when
I traveled through any part of Newark. At the time of the riots
I lived on North Seventh Street across from Anthony Imperials Little
City Hall. What a joke that was! A bunch of fools gathering together
under the premise of keeping Newark safe. They just made matters
worse than they were.
One night as we were going to sleep in our safe beds in our apartment
there was an explosion outside the Little City Hall. My windows
blew out of my apartment. I was pregnant at the time with two small
sons. I ran in the front bedroom to grab my older son out of his
once safe bed to get him away from falling glass. A little later
I miscarried. We found out a little later that some one (I wonder
who?) had put a stick of dynamite in the sewer pipe in the road.
During this riot a lot of innocent black people were hurt (white
also) and I think thirty something people lost their lives. Newark
was & never will be the same again. No amount of rebuilding can
ever bring back the Newark I loved and felt safe in. I came from
Madison Avenue in Newark originally. There was never any fear even
though it was a racially mixed neighborhood. These times of innocent
are gone forever.
My husbands family lived across from the armory on Sussex Avenue.
Soldiers all around. Gunshots all around. What happened? Newark
Renaissance? I think not. Newark is a lost city with areas rebuilt
and areas of squalor. Some things can never be fixed with a band
aid. What happened to downtown Newark? All the great movie theaters
A very vivid memory I have is coming home from a visit to my grandmothers
in Pennsylvania on the Martz or Greyhound bus into Penn Station
near midnight with my mother & father & waiting on Broad Street
for a bus home to Madison Avenue. We never felt fearful. Now I have
not been to the downtown area in so many years. A little due to
apprehension and a little due to the selection of stores that are
now there. On the day of the riots I was downtown with my youngest
son who was 2 years old at the time and we were in Woolworth's (remember)
and looking back after the riots began it had been very quiet that
day as though everyone knew something was going to happen.
I cannot believe 38 years has passed. It seems like it happened
only a couple of years ago! There are lessons to be learned here
but does anyone ever learn these lessons. God help us all!