July 13, 2009

POP commemorates anniversary 0f 1967 Newark Rebellion

On Sunday, July 12, the People's Organization for Progress returned to the intersection of Springfield Avenue, 15th Avenue, & Irvine Turner Blvd. to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the 1967 Newark Rebellion (see the Newark Star Ledger report here). POP has held this observance annually for the past 25 years, in recent years mainly at this junction where a monument to the fallen was erected on the 30th anniversary in 1997.

Unique to this year's gathering was the presence of former Mayor Kenneth Gibson, who defeated Hugh Addonizio in 1970 to become the first African-American mayor of Newark, as well as Clifford Minor, the reform candidate running against Corey Booker. The parallels are interesting. Addonizio's administration was a center of corruption and criminal enterprise, as well as the racist apartheid that led to the '67 Rebellion. While Booker is a darling of Hollywood, his administration has become a magnet for racist violence against the city's youth.

As we noted in a previous posting here covering police-violence in Newark, (see The People's Organization for Progress demands Justice for Basire Farrell) "The instances and incidences of police violence against the citizenry has increased since Mayor Booker took office.

"…not that long ago that Mayor Booker proudly proclaimed to TV-networks and print media alike that the kind of police "over-reaction" that led the street rebellion that he describes as the "1967 Riot" are behind us."

In fact, a careful examination of the legacy of 1967 Newark shows us that the rebellion was part of a series of urban uprisings at the time which led to the important Black Power conventions of the next years, particularly the one that took place in Newark itself. Former Mayor Ken Gibson's July 12, 2009 announcement that he was at the commemoration to pay his dues and join the People's Organization for Progress may be and indication that our next ten years will be as revolutionary as the decade that followed the '67 rebellion!

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