"It can't happen here".

A Town Like Newark – July 1967 – Past Daily Reference Room

"It can't happen here".

“It can’t happen here”. Oh yes, it did.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – NBC Radio: Second Sunday – Newark: Anatomy Of A Riot – July 1967 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

No end to turmoil sweeping over American cities in the decade of the 1960s. The rise of poverty and unemployment, and the rapid decay of Urban areas were all ingredients of a potentially chaotic situation. Coupled with that phenomenon known as “white flight” where the mass exodus of whites from urban areas (a phenomenon which began after the war with the advent of suburbia) left many inner cities in a state of desolation and where many factories relocated to other parts of the country, turning once thriving urban centers into wastelands.

And there was racial discrimination, the struggle of the Civil Rights movement had by no means ended. It wasn’t the exclusive property of the South, it was everywhere; in every city and corner of America. And all the talk of legislation and improvements of living and work, the promises of a better life – they were still out of reach for many.

And so the frustration began to boil over. It had been going on for a few years. By 1967 there had already been major disturbances in Harlem and Los Angeles’ Watts community years earlier. But 1967 the problems boiled up and the rage inflamed and the streets burned.

It was going to be another long, hot summer.

In July of 1967 a major eruption took place in the predominantly Black New Jersey city of Newark. By the time the violence had ended, some 26 persons were dead and many hundreds more were injured. And Newark became one of many cities to experience a social upheaval that summer.

Months later, NBC Radio would report on the events around Newark, that July week in 1967. Called “Newark: Anatomy of a Riot“, this documentary sought to explore the reasons for the rioting and the aftermath. And trying to find some answers.

Because in 1967, nobody had any.

Here is that documentary as it originally aired 47 years ago.

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