The Newark riots of 1967 were very extreme and terrible time in Newark, New Jersey, one of the worst in U.S. history. The riots were between African-Americans and white residents, police officers and the National Guard. The riots were not unexpected. The tension between the city grew tremendously during the 1960's, due to lack of employment for Blacks, inadequate housing, police brutality and political exclusion of blacks from government.
In 1967, Newark's police force was 1500 members strong with only 10% being Black. Police would stop and question African- Americans for no reason other than racial profiling. The number of incidents of Police brutality and Blacks dying in Police custody had risen tremendously. For instance, in the summer of 1965, 22 year old, Lester Long (shot after traffic stop), 26 year old Bernard Rich (died in prison cell, under unexplained circumstances). Later that year, 17 year old, Walter Rich ("accidentally shot" while being searched for illegal substances).
No police officers however, were ever prosecuted and very few of the charges even made it to a jury.
The mayor at the time was Hugh Addonizo. He professed compassion for African Americans, yet failed to appoint any black leadership in his administration. For example, He appointed an Irish, high school graduate, James Callaghan, to the school board, over Wilbur Parker, the 1st black certified accountant in New Jersey.
Newark began to deteriorate and the white residents blamed the rising African-American population for Newark's downfall. However, one of the real culprits of this decline in Newark was do to poor housing, lack of employment, and discrimination. Twenty-five percent of the cities housing was substandard according to the Model Cities program.
One of the problems affecting the racial tension included the disappearance of jobs as the factories, such as Westinghouse and General Electric,