This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the “long, hot summer.” In 1967, there were over 160 uprisings in cities throughout the U.S. The largest and deadliest uprisings occurred in Newark, N.J. and Detroit in July of that year. In Newark, the rebellion—the term used by local residents—lasted from July 12 to July 17. In the end, 26 people had died; 23 of the casualties were African American.
Many point to police brutality, discrimination, joblessness, and inadequate housing to be major causes of the unrest. But one of the biggest factors, particularly in Newark, was education.
Although the Newark rebellion was sparked by white police officers beating John Smith, a black taxi driver, the governor, Richard Hughes, created a Commission on Civil Disorder to study what else might have led to the “riot.” The commission cited the absence of black political power in Newark, and more specifically, the absence of political power in the schools as a major contributing factor. By 1967, blacks and Latinos represented the majority of the student population in Newark schools, but the school board had only one black school board member. (Fortune)