It has been 50 years since the civil disorders of 1967 tore through Newark’s Central Ward, when both political leaders and the media wrote Newark off as one of the nation’s most hopeless cities.
The disorders that preceded the creation of New Community Corporation (NCC) left 23 dead, more than 1,000 injured, nearly 1,600 arrested and $15 million worth of property in ruins. The real toll was far deeper. The disorders were a disaster that threatened lives and homes and ripped apart the very fabric of the community.
Shopkeepers fled, most never to return. Residents were left without essential services. There were no homes, no jobs and no hope. The Central Ward of 1967 bore a closer resemblance to the bombed-out cities of Europe after World War II than to the largest city in New Jersey, once one of the most prosperous states in the nation.