I don’t think anyone who was in Newark, NJ, during the 1967 Riot would need this book in order to recall the images captured by Life photographer Bud Lee. We have our own.
I was only seven years old at the time, but I still remember the sights and sounds of the moments I experienced, and no amount of anti-woke legislation or book banning can or will ever erase them.
It was the first time (abeit not the last) that I heard the phrase, “The Cops are killing Black people.” I remember because it’s not something a seven year old little Black boy is likely to forget. For what it’s worth; there were plenty of choice words used to describe those cops, too, but I’m sure most folks can figure out what they were.
I still remember having to march to school in single file with the other kids in the neighborhood while soldiers stood guard on street corners and in armored jeeps. All of them were white. And some looked like boys themselves. At first, I’d thought they were sent to protect us until I realized the rifles were pointed at us. Needless to say, I threw all of my G.I. Joes in the trash shortly thereafter, and, to this day, I’ve never watched another episode of Combat or The Rat Patrol.
And I still remember the sound of gunfire followed by screams and my mother crying when her friend, who lived across the street from us, Mrs. Abraham was fatally shot while standing on her front porch by the same cops whose job I had heard just days before was to kill Black people.
Today, as another anniversary of The 1967 Newark Riots/Uprising/Massacre approaches, I am ever mindful of the fact that a lot of good things have happened in and to the beloved city of my youth since then. I’m mindful, too, that on those occasions when it seems like it just happened yesterday, it’s usually because there’s someplace in America where it has.
I still got the book, though.