An illuminating account of events too often relegated to footnotes in U.S. history - the Black urban rebellions of the 1960's.
REVOLUTION '67 focuses on the explosive urban rebellion in Newark, New Jersey, in July 1967, to reveal the long-standing racial, economic, and political forces which generated inner city poverty and perpetuate it today. Newark residents, police, officials, and urban commentators, including writer/activist Amiri Baraka, journalist Bob Herbert, prominent historians, and '60s activist Tom Hayden, recount the vivid, day-to-day details of the uprising. But they also trace those traumatic days back to decades of industrial decline, unemployment, job and housing discrimination, federal programs favoring suburbs over cities, police impunity, political corruption, and a costly, divisive overseas war. Americans should not have been surprised when race wars exploded, turning cities into combat zones, bringing Vietnam back home.
The spark igniting this firestorm of pent-up rage in Newark was, as is so often, an encounter between a black man and the police. On July 12th, 1967, two white officers stopped a black taxi driver for a minor traffic violation, beat him, and dragged him into the local precinct. A rumor spread rapidly through black neighborhoods that the driver had died. Though this proved to be untrue, years of police brutality incited a crowd to rampage through the streets, breaking windows, and looting white-owned businesses reputed to cheat their black customers. The next night, a mass protest meeting erupted into more widespread violence.
Mayor Hugh Addonizio, subsequently imprisoned for graft, panicked and called Governor Richard J. Hughes, who summoned the New Jersey National Guard. Tanks rolled through Newark's streets, black neighborhoods were cordoned off with barbed wire, and check-points set-up. The police and Guard, untrained in crowd control, fired indiscriminately into housing projects, killing innocent bystanders. But the national press, including The New York Times and Life magazine, blamed the deaths on "black snipers," demonizing young African American men as ruthless guerillas, the domestic equivalent of the Viet Cong. When later examined, 13,000 rounds of ammunition were fired by law enforcement during the so-called riots, while less than 100 rounds were found which could have come from the alleged snipers; no one was ever charged as a sniper. In all, 26 people died, 24 of them African American, and 725 were wounded during those six days in July.
"Here in Newark, we partnered with Revolution '67 to bring this insightful documentary to our community." - Cory A. Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ "Revolution '67 accurately and effectively captures the mood, the pain, the loss, the ambiguity, the fear and the continuing impact of the violent unrest of the summer of 1967."- Lonnie G. Bunch, Founding Director, Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture "Revolution '67 dramatically reminded us of what I have called 'the awakening.' I was fascinated by every moment of the documentary." - Brendan Byrne, former NJ Governor (Essex County Prosecutor in 1967) "An outstanding portrait of the 1967 Newark rebellion-the kind of event that certainly could repeat itself in any US city in the coming period." - Chester Hartman, Director of Research, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, Washington, DC "A powerful film which provides a comprehensive analysis of the events in Newark. It defines the impact of numerous planning decisions at the local, state and federal levels, and the outcome of discriminatory practices in the real estate and finance industries. Should be mandatory viewing for anyone affiliated with Urban Studies or working in the field of Planning." - Brenda Kayzar, Urban Studies Program, Department of Geography, University of Minnesota "It is a documentary film like none other! Revolution '67 is a bold, inquisitive, and important contribution...That it sheds light on a complicated narrative about race, power, community agency, and memory secures its place among the finest films of the genre." - Clement Alexander Price, Rutgers University
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