sean dockray


Received Frederick B. White Prize in Architecture. Thesis paper at Princeton University School of Architecture, advised by Mark Wigley.

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Containment: The Architecture of the 1967 Newark Riots


In July of 1967, Newark, New Jersey experienced several days of rioting. Like most urban riots in the mid to late 1960’s, Newark’s riots were described as "race riots," primarily due to the fact that the majority of the rioters were African-American and the issues that were discussed in conjunction with the riots were intertwined with race.

These riots are a defining moment in the history of Newark. In addition to providing the impetus for intense reforms, they also established a sort of historical ground zero. Most new development now carries with it a reference point: "25 years since the riots" or "a block from riot torn Springfield Avenue." July 13 to July 17, 1967 has become the cognitive low-point in the history of Newark. The riots left more than the built environment in ruins; psychological, political, economic, social, and cultural processes and institutions were so irreparably ‘altered’ that I will also consider them as ruins. Every aspect of the riots can be considered from the architectural point of view. To do so reveals aspects of political actions that are excluded by other forms of analysis (sociological, economic, historical, etc.) Simultaneously, it reveals aspects of architecture that are obscured by traditional forms of architectural analysis.

So how do I write about riots? As I begin to even approach the subject it explodes backward and forward in time, in to the consciences of people and out to remote parts of the world. One urge would be to synthesize all of these divergent ideas into a coherent narrative in order to show the historical inevitability of the riots. The methodology of this thesis attempts to resist that urge by fractionating "the riots" into recurring themes and probing those pieces.

I use six newspapers as primary sources: the Newark Evening News; The New York Times; The Washington Post; the Los Angeles Times (from a city where major race riots had occurred in Watts in 1965); The Detroit News (from a city where major race riots happened a week after Newark’s); and The Times (in London, for a perspective from outside of the United States).

By closely reading these texts, I will try to demonstrate that the riots did not simply happen in the streets. The rioting only began as such when a series of institutions defined certain actions as a "riot" and launched a complex struggle over the definition of space. It is in this sense that the riots were architectural from the beginning.


While the ‘official’ declaration of "riot" wasn’t made until Friday, July 14, 1967, hindsight has established late Wednesday night - when a group of Newark citizens gathered to protest the treatment of an arrested cab driver - as the actual starting point. Of the six newspapers, the Newark Evening News, the New York Times, and the Washington Post covered Wednesday night and Thursday morning’s violence in Thursday’s paper. The three front-page headlines were, respectively, "Trouble in Central Ward Seen Isolated Incident", "Racial Violence Erupts in Newark", and "Violence Breaks Out In Newark After Arrest".1 The eruption and breaking out work in conjunction with the word "violence" to indicate a dormant or previously potential problem. Newark’s paper, on the other hand,

1 The word “riot” is used in the following day’s headlines for all three papers: “3 Dead in City Riots”, “Newark’s Mayor Calls in Guard as Riots Spread”, and “Guard Ordered Out in Newark Rioting” all indicate the transition in terminology (from trouble to violence into riot), which was made early Friday morning.

‘isolates’ the event from an historical continuum. Neither the Post nor the Times included quotes in their coverage; the Evening News, which came out in the afternoon, quoted Newark’s mayor, Hugh J. Addonizio:

This is a difficult situation, but apparently it has no significance as far as relating to any other problem.2

Furthermore, the phrase "isolated incident"3 found its way from Addonizio’s mouth into the headline. All three newspapers noted police brutality as the reason for protest but only the New York Times described two additional issues. One was the controversy over Addonizio’s selection of a white man over a more qualified black man for the post of secretary. The second was Newark’s decision to raze 50 acres of housing in the Central Ward in order to construct the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry. These very issues are displaced and excluded from the Evening News’ coverage by Mayor Addonizio’s public statement. I want to describe in this paper various physical and ideological inside/outside relationships exhibited during the events of the riots; as well as examine how these relationships configured the frame of the newspapers through which I am analyzing these events.

The following is the Newark Evening News’ description of the arrest and incarceration of John Smith:

According to Police Inspector Kenneth Melchior, Smith, a driver for the Safety Cab Co., was "tailgating" a patrol car in 15th Avenue at 9:40 p.m. when he pulled past the car on the right side. The policemen, Pontrelli and De Simone, stopped the taxi at 9th Street. Melchior said Smith began using profane language and struck both officers when they told him he was under arrest.

2 David Berliner. “Trouble in Central Ward Seen Isolated Incident”. Front page 3 Ibid.

"After he hit the officers," Melchior said, "the cabbie continued fighting in the radio car, had to be carried into the police station when he refused to walk, and then declined to give his name."4

Once the police determined Smith’s actions to be no longer inside the law, they took him into custody by placing him ‘under arrest.’ His unwillingness to acknowledge this particular citation was problematic in much the same way as his refusal to walk into the police station. The act of placing him under arrest involves a recitation, in an Austinian5 sense, that invariably succeeds regardless of his objections. And no matter how much Smith allegedly fought, refused to walk, and engaged in other disagreeable actions, he nevertheless ended up inside the police station. The possibility that he was carried in matters little (except, perhaps, that he would be charged with additional violations of the law) because by merely being inside the station he was under the repressive control of the law.

As citizens6 gathered in protest, the police station became the first building involved in the riots. But by recognizing the police officers as extensions of the power represented by the police station into the streets of the city, we can begin to see how the law acted to distort the space of the station and the city itself. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary describes a police officer as a member of a police force, which is defined as:

A professional body of trained officers and men entrusted by a government with the maintenance of public peace and

4 Ibid. pg. 4. 5 J.L. Austin. Pp. 233-252. 6 The number of people varies by paper: Newark Evening News said “250 Negroes”, the New York Times said “a crowd of about 200 Negroes”, and the Washington Post merely wrote “crowds of Negroes”.

order, the enforcement of laws, and the prevention and detection of crime.

My first inclination is to interpret the job of this Webster’s police officer as a ‘peace keeper’ who actively prevents and detects "crime" by observing people’s actions and interrupting those that seem ‘unlawful’. Immediately, of course, this description becomes complicated by the very real Panoptic effect of police surveillance. That which a citizen will or will not do typically is related to the nature of police presence. But this need not mean that police presence necessarily determines the constitution of a citizen’s behavior so much as it affects it. Even in an ambiguity-less Webster’s scenario, the existence of "law" and "public peace and order" already transform the quality of material forms into ideology-loaded spaces that exclude or include certain people. But in a world with prejudiced and disparate administration of laws, unequal density of police presence, and frequent contention of existing laws, the relationship between the law and the space of the city is not only arbitrary and inconsistent, but negotiable. The riots did not simply happen "in" Newark. They happened between physical and ideological spaces; they were a negotiation of multiple spaces, multiple insides.

Complications arise, for example, when Smith’s version of the arrest is examined:

"I came upon a police car double-parked," said Smith. "I snapped my turn signal on and then went around the car, like I’ve done many other times.

"The police car suddenly started after me and then forced me to halt. I showed them my license and then asked, ‘What’s the matter, I didn’t do anything wrong. I do it all the time.’

"One officer got out of the car and told me I couldn’t do it with him. I saw I couldn’t do it with him and said, ‘OK, then, give me a ticket, what can it cost me?’

"So he said to me, ‘Hey, what are you, a wise guy?’ and ordered me out of the cab, and told my passenger to get out and get another taxi.

"Then they shoved me into the back seat of the police car where the officer first hit me with his fists, and then with a billy club, finally striking me in the groin which temporarily paralyzed me.

"By this time we had arrived at the police station, and they dragged me out of the car, and beat me again and again. And then they took me inside and I was really worked over. I was kicked and beaten and struck with pistols."7

Here, the conceptualization of being inside or outside the law means very little. Smith argues at first that that which he does consistently should not be considered a violation of the law. As the situation escalates, the officers demonstrate the arbitrariness of the law by both using and embodying it in order to brutalize the cab driver. The performative ‘arrest’ becomes seriously compromised because it isn’t executed in the ‘normative’ manner. Nonetheless, John Smith ends up in the police station under the repressive control of the law. But this law is not the same law as that which is described in Kenneth Melchior’s story.

Although I certainly hold convictions about whose story comes closer to the actual events of July 12, 1967, my aim is not to solve the mystery but rather to recognize the different systems described within the two versions. For Smith, as for most blacks in the city of Newark, the police station was a hostile place; one usually would only be there in custody (or posting bail). In the cab driver’s case, the police station

7 “Beating Triggers Riots; Cabbie Reluctant ‘Hero’”. Pg. 4-A.

simultaneously represented a suspension and an extreme administration of the law. The police station was a space of repression. Inversely, policemen belong in a police station. The typical city employee or ‘law abiding citizen’ presumably has no need to fear, for the police are there for them. Officers Pontrelli and De Simone removed a violator of the law from the streets and brought him to the police station – an administrative node in the process of maintaining order and enforcing the law. The police station was a space of domination; however, in this instance it was a fundamentally legitimate domination due to the assumed essential rightness of the law. To be in the station could mean very different things. This obvious conclusion raises several questions that help to describe the trajectory of this chapter: What did it mean to be outside of the station? What other inside/outside relationships existed outside of the station? How did these relationships change over the course of the riots?


"The crowd stood in front of the Fourth Precinct."8 In protest of the rumored beating of John Smith, people immediately began to gather – both outside and in a deliberate position with regard to the police station. Melchior said, "At the inception there were 250 persons outside, acting quite orderly and simply observing."9 He did allow some people into the station, however: "I arrived at 10:40 p.m. and I allowed a group of civil rights leaders from Area Board Two (an anti-poverty agency) to see the prisoner."10 The split between inside and outside was strengthened here by the inclusion of "leaders" from a recognized "agency", which in turn is

8 James Cusick. “Trouble Centered On Man Few Knew”. Pg. 4. (my emphasis) 9 David Berliner. “Trouble in Central Ward Seen Isolated Incident”. Pg. 4. 10 Ibid.

associated with the "civil rights" movement. The legitimacy of the movement for civil rights in the general public rhetoric is evident also in the Newark Evening News’ editorial on Friday, July 14, 1967: "How this outbreak can serve the cause of civil rights… is impossible to understand." 11The willingness of the majority to accede to the demands of civil rights protestors is dubious; however, we must be sensitive to how "civil rights" are adopted in order to ‘understand’ or discredit the riots. A quote from New Jersey’s Governor Richard Hughes on the front page of the same paper declared that the riots were "not a Negro rebellion but a criminal rebellion."12 The primary difference between the people inside the police station and those outside was one of institutional recognition. In all likelihood, the demands of the civil rights leaders were largely representative of those of the protestors; but, due to the specificity of the situation and the concessions made by being recognized "leaders", John Smith was merely transported to the hospital for examination and not given his release, which the crowd demanded in its chants.

There are two accounts on the same page of Thursday’s Newark Evening News of the first Molotov cocktail thrown by a member of the crowd gathered outside. The less descriptive of the two stated:

Shortly before midnight a Molotov cocktail struck the side of the police station, but there was no further violence at that time.13

The more sensational version of the same event went as follows:

A molotov cocktail was thrown at the precinct. It splattered against the corner of the building and the flames heightened

11 “A City’s Shame”. Pg. 10. 12 David C. Berliner. “3 Dead in City Riots: Mobs Loot, Start Fires”. Front page. 13 David C. Berliner. “Trouble in Central Ward Seen Isolated Incident”. Pg. 4.

the tension. Police outside rushed inside and police inside rushed outside.14

The first passage removes the hand of the thrower of the explosive, whereas the colorful, second passage establishes a cause and effect relationship in which the "throw" induces "heightened tension" and consequently the excitement of the police. What was signified when police in this article crossed the boundary of inside and outside? Presumably, police within the station wanted to investigate the noise while preventing an escalation of violence, while the police outside sought safety within – whether in the form of backup or the refuge that the building provided. In any event, the author’s reference to the rapid exchange of officers between inside and outside at the moment of heightened tension further indicates an acute ideological pressure on the walls of the police station. Furthermore, the neurotic rush - inside to outside and outside to inside reinforced the boundary, inasmuch as this limit between inside and outside was threatened by the impact of the thrown bottle.

It is at this point that "the crowd…began listening to speakers"15 and the only photograph of the protest, which accompanied Thursday’s main article in the Evening News, was taken. The front door of the station is centered in the frame of the photograph with the Civil Rights leader, Robert Curvin, standing with a megaphone to the left of the entrance and a police officer to the right, facing the crowd. In addition to centering attention on the Fourth Precinct Station House, the photograph is taken from within the crowd, from the point of view of an idealized protestor – a protestor perfectly on axis with and directly facing the massive front door.

14 James Cusick. “Trouble Centered On Man Few Knew”. Pg. 4. 15 David C. Berliner. “Trouble in Central Ward Seen Isolated Incident”. Pg. 4.

Newark Evening News. Thursday, July 23, 1967. pg. 4.

figure 1

The Washington Post. Sunday, July 16, 1967. pg. A12.

figure 2

This view contrasts sharply with the only other photograph of the front of the building taken during the riots. Figure 2 is one part of a four photograph series that depicts the "principal" actors in the riots. The crowd has disappeared – not just from the front of the police station, but from the limited narrative as well. Symptomatically, a police car is parked in the place of the photographer of Figure 1. Furthermore, the Fourth Precinct Station is shown obliquely in Figure 2, with the door on the right edge and the corner of the building allowing daylight from the left edge, as opposed to the suffocating midnight frontal view of Figure 1. Figure 2 and the photographs it accompanies are all orderly, institutional views -an arrested man, a police station, the governor, and a detective. These all are defined parts of a properly functioning, orderly society – they were framed and presented by the newspaper as the "principal" actors in the riots.

What happened to the crowd? In Figure 1, the photographer faced the station door. Thus far I have attempted to describe the action of protesting or facing as a sort of stepping into an already established position. Those people in the photograph who do not face the station are facing Robert Curvin who, as I suggested earlier, is an institutional figure by virtue of his being a "Civil Rights leader." What does this say about the crowd? This photograph is an atypical instance in which the photographer is situated within the ‘dissenting’ people. The caption describes the time as "before outbreak of violence," which further implies the existence of an institutional, orderly position of protest.

As "speakers asked for immediate, but peaceful demonstrations," 16 the protestors allegedly became increasingly aggressive while "rumors

16 David C. Berliner. “Trouble in Central Ward Seen Isolated Incident”. Pg. 4.

sped through the crowd that the cabbie was dead. ‘He’s gone, brother. They killed him.’"17

"I called in all my men except eight and talked to the leaders," Melchior recalled. "When the leaders asked me to take all my men off the streets for 15 minutes in order to let them quell the thing themselves, I asked for their guarantee that there would be no violence. They said they couldn’t make that promise, but I finally had all my men, about 53 of them in the station."18

This event can be primarily interpreted to reveal many citizens’ obvious distrust of and antagonism towards the police. By "off the streets," leaders meant "in the station." This adds another layer to the meaning of ‘outside,’ because although the police were considered problematic, the anecdote was to collapse them within the station, closer to the crowd than anywhere else in the city. Presumably, however, the walls of the station represented a reasonable distance relative to the street; cops on the street were a tangible threat whereas cops in the station were somehow preferable. With all the policemen in the station, it would appear as though state power was, in a way, diminished. Melchior’s request for a guarantee of non-violence opens the paradox, however. Is state power truly lessened if laws and police demands remain in effect? Have the leaders become surrogate policemen?

Soon after Police Director Dominick Spina entered the precinct, "a rock came hurtling through a front window of the station, signaling the start of a siege."19 In a sense, the police and their immediate power were confined within a building, which merely served to protect. Its ideological power was, at the very least, modified and its formal power as a space of

17 James Cusick. “Trouble Centered On Man Few Knew”. Pg. 4. 18 David C. Berliner. “Trouble in Central Ward Seen Isolated Incident”. Pg. 4. 19 Ibid.

safety from the outside became of primary importance. This is not to say that the police station’s ideological power was eliminated – people were not protesting in front of it and throwing stones at it simply because it was a building – rather, this power was surrounded.20


The Newark Evening News overtly describes the location of the Fourth Precinct within the city in two ways:

The police station, at 17th Avenue and Livingston Street, is in the heart of Newark’s Central Ward, which is almost entirely Negro.21


The 12-story Hayes Housing Development [is] across the street.22

Whereas the second passage introduces another building as a point of reference, the first inserts several different scales, which a map published in the New York Times depicts, to one degree or another.

The "Central Ward", as its name implies, was a state defined boundary for an area in the approximate geographical core of the Newark. Figure 3 shows the Fourth Precinct "in the heart of Newark’s Central

20 “Siege”, in the sense of the article, indicates a military maneuver in which, as Webster describes: “a fortification is surrounded, subjected to attack, and cut off from supplies and reinforcements until its occupants surrender.” (my emphasis) The implication of military conquest interests me only as much as its related verbs “sit” and “see”, which in turn, describe a power relationship in which the subject is active with an unstated object. 21 David C. Berliner. “Trouble in Central Ward Seen Isolated Incident”. Pg. 4. 22 Ibid.

New York Times. Saturday, July 14,

(a) (b) figure 3

Ward" as an "X"23 but also shows an orthogonal intersection just to the right. This intersection of Broad St. and Market St. is known as Four Corners; it is the historic, economic, and cultural center of the city. In addition to representing only major infrastructural elements (aside from 17th and Livingston) such as Route 22, Route 19, the Garden State Parkway, the New Jersey Turnpike, and the Newark Airport, Figure 3 also compresses the distance from "X" to Four Corners. This "X" is also grossly overgrown. It doesn’t ‘belong’ on the same map as the airport. Livingston Street and 17th Avenue are depicted as grafts onto Springfield Avenue, a major diagonal thoroughfare through Newark and into Irvington.

Although I noted that the "Central Ward" was a name for a defined area of land within the city, the Newark Evening News conflated this with demographic information in the first of the above passages: "Newark’s Central Ward, which is almost entirely Negro." Although unintentional, this alludes to greater economic and social processes that led to the containment of mainly black populations within policy determined urban areas. It did not merely describe, in a detached way, an existing condition, but through description normalized and reinforced this condition.

The Evening News used the relationship between the Hayes Homes and the Fourth Precinct several times as a reference point for the events of July 12th and 13th. In addition to being "across the street," the Hayes Homes were "opposite the Fourth Precinct Station"24 and also "a stone’s

23 This “X” appears graphically in the shape of an Iron Cross. It is worth noting the dubious history of the symbol. It is one of the most easily recognizable decorations in the world, gaining prominence in the Prussian War of Liberation, the Franco-Prussian War, World War I, and World War II. During World War II, the cross was enlarged and imprinted with a swastika, as ordered by Hitler. Interestingly, the original final designs for the Iron Cross were made by Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1813. 24 Ibid. front page.

throw away."25 Although the last metaphor is a less than clever pun, it conveys the idea of spatial distance, like the original description. The word "opposite," however, suggests a positional relationship based on antagonism or antithesis – in visual terms, a spatial organization, indebted to some arbitrary rule, which only as a consequence defines distance. This description connotes an inverse ideological reflection that caricatures each building’s representational function. Protestors and stone throwers were translated into the twelve-story project and police and ordinary law-abiding citizens into the dwarfed station, and vice-versa.

During the first night, protestors threw stones at police from the rooftops of the Hayes Homes and at one point during the night a youth was reported to have pointed at the roof of one of these buildings and yelled, "There’s a cop there. Throw that cop off."26 The height of these structures, which was intended to increase density, was re-articulated by the inhabitants not as a symbol and function of order and control but as a threat to these processes. The Hayes Homes were described as "darkened buildings" suggesting the unknown, or more specifically the lack of sight.

As darkness shrouded the city, searchlight beams raked the faces of buildings and rifle muzzles winked with flame as the police and the soldiers sought to clear vantage points in buildings in the riot area.27

The advantage of these points was the comprehensive view or commanding perspective that they offered. More accurately, the relative sight of these points in the particular situation was unacceptable for the soldiers and police. The "wink" of the rifle muzzles joins the searchlight in the effort to contain the "darkness" which "shrouded the city."

25 James Cusick. “Trouble Centered On Man Few Knew”. Pg. 4. 26 Maurice Carroll. “Newark’s Mayor Calls in Guard as Riots Spread: Downtown is Hit”. Pg. 34. 27 Martin Arnold. “Negroes Battle With Guardsmen”. Pg. 11.

Don Charles. New York Times. Monday, July 17, 1967. pg. 23.


(a) (b) figure 4

Newark News Photos


Associated Press UPI

(a) (b) figure 5

High-rises were constantly described in terms of the strange or unknown. One project was colorfully portrayed as a "forest of brick towers,"28 recalling Governor Hughes’ assertion that "the line between the jungle and the law might as well be drawn here as well as any place in America."29 Elsewhere, "police said they had chased some suspects over the roofs of the buildings and into the night."30 These buildings and their elevated roofs constantly concealed rioters and were represented, in turn, as mystical, violent places. One national guardsman said that he wouldn’t respond to the taunts of protestors because "if you said anything back, they’d probably come out of the walls."31 Obviously, this is only an expression, but it expresses the fear and distrust of what couldn’t be seen. On several occasions, police and national guardsmen exchanged fire with each other and charges were constantly being leveled against the authorities for haphazardly firing at windows as they "sprayed the roofs of buildings thought to conceal terrorists."32

Sniper suspects and other rioters, who were on or in the buildings, were never photographed and often when police would storm a building all they would find was "hallways…splattered with blood."33 Instead, newspaper photographs pictured buildings riddled with holes -describing an absent or past danger - and authorities reacting to an invisible threat. These images are diametrically opposed to the many photographs showing the confined bodies of rioters (Figures 5, 12-b, 14, and 16-b). The absence of these bodies in these photographs fills the

28 Steven V. Roberts. “Looters Target Guarded Closely: Riots Leave Streets Littered – Springfield Ave. Closed”. Front page. 29 David C. Berliner. “7 More Slain in Riots”. Front page. 30 David C. Berliner. “Target of Snipers: Newsman Trapped in Gun Battle”. Pg. 3. 31 Walter Wagoner. “For Guardsmen, It’s Sudden War”. Pg. 55. 32 Ibid. 33 Ibid.

figure 6

newspaper reader’s imagination and validates the actions of the police and National Guard, with whom the reader begins to empathize.

On July 14th, a study by Baroff/Elin Associates, builders from East Orange, declared that "’low-rise’ apartment dwellers are friendlier, less socially inhibited than those in taller buildings."34 This sentiment is amplified by Mayor Addonizio, who stated at a Newark City Council meeting (at the time of John Smith’s arrest on Wednesday, July 12th) that public housing projects "only later turn out to be centers of crime and add to the cities problems."35 Each of these official statements – given almost five years to the day before the dynamiting of the Pruitt-Igoe project demonstrate the perception of these high-rise towers as symbols of social ills.

In addition to these high rises’ importance as literal sites of violence during the riots, they were also a primary subject in the political conflict over housing. On Monday, July 17, 1967, The Detroit News brought the issue of housing to the forefront in the front-page article "Housing No. 1 in Negro Aims". Although this article concentrates on Michigan’s major cities, a survey in Newark after the riots agreed that the inadequacy of housing was the primary concern for blacks. This is not surprising considering the well-documented racism of the Federal Housing Authority, "urban renewal," and the development of suburbs. An advertisement for Levittown says, "Civilians need only $790 down, $68 monthly," but the lease said, "The tenant agrees not to permit the premises to be used or occupied by any person other than members of the Caucasian race. But the employment and maintenance of other than Caucasian domestic servants shall be permitted." Even after the U.S.

34 “Low-Rise Tenants Seen as Friendlier”. Pg. 12. 35 “Newark Approves 826-Unit Low-Rent Project”. Pg. 5.

Supreme Court declared such provisions unenforceable as law in 1948, William Levitt continued to discriminate through his Belair development in Maryland in 1963. The sordid racial history of urban and suburban development from the 1930’s to the 1960’s finds a certain amount of clarity in the statement that, "The Negro insists that until he can move freely to any house he can afford he is ranked a second-class citizen and not truly free."36 This assertion alludes to the openly racist policies illustrated in the Levittown lease but fails to recognize the emerging, equally insidious structural inequalities that also prevent freedom of mobility. A person’s choices for a home are limited to those that "he can afford." As the pieces fall into place – an unemployment rate (7.2%) that was twice the national average and an average income for black citizens that was half the average income of a suburban white37 - it becomes clear that the only "choice" for many blacks in the 1960’s was one of the many "public housing monstrosities."38

After Director Spina allowed police back outside the station, the Hayes Homes were actively engaged in the events; according to the Evening News:

Police divided into four squads of about 10 helmeted patrolmen each, marched into the street, asking groups to disperse and ducking stones falling from the darkened buildings. Other patrolmen threw floodlights toward the roofs of the 12-story Hayes Housing Development across the street. The beams sent people there running for cover.39

Light is described as a sort of weapon, thrown onto the rooftops in an effort to squelch those dropping stones. It is worthy to recognize the

36 A.F. Mahan. “Housing No. 1 in Negro Aims”. Front page. 37 “City of Blight Spawns Riots”. Front page. The unemployed population was mostly black, leaving the black unemployment rate at nearly 15%. 38 Ibid. 39 David C. Berliner. “Trouble in Central Ward Seen Isolated Incident”. Pg. 4.

oppositions that were continually being established: white against black, light against darkness, and order against disorder. While police were "divided into four squads," the protestors were in less architectural "groups" of unreported numbers. Even the building is described by its factual, orderly attribute of having twelve stories. We can begin to picture an undefined, amorphous assemblage being reorganized by police, utilities, and the media. Albert Black, chairman of the Human Rights Commission, reported more overt violence; he had a list of names of women "allegedly chased into the Hayes Housing Project and beaten and assaulted by police."40 The "opposition" between the Hayes Homes and the police station, with its implicit axis or internal boundary, does not appear as clean. In a sense, the dominant/repressed relationship was exaggerated and the spatial divide was unequivocally violated. I will continue to rethink this opposition in relation to shifting spatial relationships.


The police did not go out, however, until the Police Director gave them permission. "Spina said he ordered police to stay inside the building until reports started coming in that stores were being looted."41 Presumably, Spina had the well being of his employees in mind, but by setting up the scenario he established a set of priorities. The destruction of property in the form of "rocks and bottles, smashing against windows, cars, walls, and people"42 was of less importance than the looting of stores.

40 Ibid. front page. 41 Ibid. pg. 4. 42 Ibid.

There is a hint here of the tense race relations throughout the United States in assuming that looting would probably occur. Los Angeles’ Watts riots were a couple of years before and "Dr. Martin Luther King called Newark a ‘powder keg’"43 One could have predicted any U.S. city in 1967 and 1968 and one most likely would have been correct. During Newark’s riots, six other New Jersey cities experienced disturbances that made the London Times: Plainfield, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Paterson, Elizabeth, and East Orange. There were also "minor racial clashes"44 in Hartford, Connecticut, Fresno, California, Cairo, Illinois, and Miami, Florida.

Although the police were contained within the Fourth Precinct, Spina would let them out when reports started coming in that stores were being looted. I described the patrolman earlier as a sort of extension of the police station, but even with all of them inside the system still functions, because reports could still come in. An effective military siege cuts a place off from its supplies and other links to the outside. The fact that information could still find its way into the police station illuminates the degree to which the police station remained connected with the outside. This outside does not mean the immediate outside where people were setting fires and throwing stones, but rather outside resources such as politicians, telephone lines, the fire department, and so on.

The distinctive act of "looting" produced a special effect not only from the police department, but also from the newspapers. Harry’s Liquor

43 Douglas Eldridge. “A Battered City Ponders Storm: Signs of Impending Riots Cropping Up for Some Time”. Front page. 44 Eric Britter. “Looting Negroes Kill Policeman: New Jersey Riots Spread”. Pg. 4. In Miami, the incident was a brawl outside a nightclub between black and white youths. In East Orange, a group of white teens tried a drive-by-shooting attack on a black youth. These certainly do not define riots, any more than racially motivated crime. The fact that these incidents are included can help us understand what the Newark riot was, and to what degree the media conflated it with similar disturbances. We can then ask how are these events different? Why are they included in this and other articles and presented in such a way as to describe a singular criminal black identity?

Store is overtly recontextualized in The Newark Evening News when the store was described as "the first victim of the looters."45 What does this personification suggest? First, I will attempt to describe exactly what "looting" entails and what is injured by the act.

The full passage - from which the above quote comes - begins to elucidate this:

Harry’s Liquor Store at 12 Belmont Ave., about a block away [from the Hayes Housing Development], was the first victim of the looters, where a window was broken. Merchandise was tossed over the floor.46

Two separate events are depicted: the breaking of the window and the tossing of the merchandise. Furthermore, this passage suggests a temporal relationship between the "looters" and the violence. It implies that the people were looters before the looting occurred; rather than saying, "Harry’s Liquor Store was the first to be looted," it establishes a group of looters that then subjects the store to violence. This follows from Spina’s implicit expectation of looting; due to the situation, the act of looting was not seen as a spontaneous event, but rather as a performance.

A distinction between window and merchandise is made in The New York Times ("smashing windows and looting stores"47) and The Washington Post ("windows were smashed and stores looted"48). Elsewhere in the same New York Times article, "swiftly moving gangs of looters smashed dozens of store windows, strewed merchandise on the sidewalks, and moved on." Sometimes looting is considered to be independent of breaking windows and at others the latter is included in

45 David C. Berliner. “Trouble in Central Ward Seen Isolated Incident”. Pg. 4. (my emphasis) 46 Ibid. 47 “Racial Violence Erupts in Newark”. Front page. 48 “Violence Breaks Out In Newark After Arrest”. Front page.

the former, but there is always a distinction between window and merchandise.

It is helpful to compare the example of Harry’s Liquor Store with an example from the Friday edition of the Newark Evening News:

About that time, Sgt. John Manghisi, riding in a patrol wagon, became the first police victim of the night, when a rock smashed through a window of the van, splintering glass into his eye.49

In both of these reported cases of violence, a boundary was broken and then transgressed, violating the interior space; and in both cases injury was caused to a body in this interior. For Sgt. Manghisi to be a victim, he needs to have suffered bodily harm. Had the rock smashed through a window and then bounced harmlessly around the back of the van he would not have been listed in the paper as the "first police victim." Two boundaries had to be broken: the glass of the car window and the sergeant’s eye. Similarly, had the merchandise not been stolen, destroyed, or touched then Harry’s Liquor Store would not have been "looted." We should simultaneously recognize, however, that Police Director Dominick Spina probably had ‘breaking into’ - regardless of whether or not merchandise was touched -on his mind when he awaited reports of looting. Despite the clear distinctions I presented earlier, individual or institutional motives and perceptions can conflate the dual actions of transgressing and injuring.

What does injury mean in terms of looting? Thus far, I have positioned it on the merchandise side of the duality. The two "first" victims were contingent on a double transgression; the first boundary seems to be solely concerned with three-dimensional physical space

49 David C. Berliner. “3 Dead in City Riots”. Pg. 5.

Associated Press

figure 8

whereas the second boundary is not. Let us reconsider what ‘windows’ and ‘merchandise’ represented.

Certainly, the window derives as much importance from its frame as it does from its material properties of being transparent, yet solid. The frame of the storefront gives the window a different sort of meaning and direction than the frame of a police wagon. Although the display is projected outward awaiting a potential consumer, the person looks inward to the displayed items. This allowable transgression of the glass boundary is mediated not by the window itself but by its frame. Because the store is a commercial space existing within a capitalist economy, the glass indicates that the goods shown are not for the taking, but only attainable by paying the exchange-value. The same frame simultaneously determines and creates needs, inviting and composing the gaze of the consumer. Insofar as the window allows visibility, it blurs the distinction between inside and outside in order to stimulate desire. By smashing through this window, however, the frame is injured. All of the mechanisms of commodity-capitalism are still in place but the passage from exterior to interior shatters both the glass and the ideological fortification embodied in the fragile material.

The potential for this type of violence is alluded to by the metal gates used to shield glass storefronts, most often obscuring the products from view in addition to preventing entry. Potential perpetrators – those without the means or those not willing to pay the exchange-value for a product – are seduced and denied during the day, and usually simply denied at night. In the pawnshop shown in Figure 8, the two gates are peeled from the plane of the boundary from vertical to horizontal. Whereas the gate would normally be slid, such that it could be used at the next closing time and because it is easiest with a key, the rioters were solely concerned with penetrating. Presumably, it was most efficient to break through the gates in this particular manner.

The fact that the gate enclosed a pawnshop is noteworthy as well, in that it held items, which belonged to many of the citizens. Whatever desire was stimulated by the advertising and the visibility of products was magnified by the implicit connection between the previous owners and their pawned goods. In a sense, this connection placed the bodies of the rioters within the store while the economic and legal mechanisms of pawning created a gap between the item and its former owner that was reinforced by the metal gate.

Part of the caption of the photograph reads, "The shop was broken into…" in which "into" draws attention to the inside/outside relationship. The verb, "was broken" focuses more on the boundary than the spaces themselves. The phrase, "was broken into," conflates the two parts by implying that the transgression inherently ‘breaks’ the boundary and disturbs the ‘usual’ relationship between inside and outside. Another metaphor occurs in the editorial section of the Newark Evening News: "…bus service was disrupted and the normal life of a peaceful community was shattered."50 A glass metaphor was probably intended51, but to imply that a unified, monolithic, self-evident "normal life" was smashed. We should, however, consider the image of breakage to suggest a spatial relationship supported by a socially constructed boundary ("normal life of a peaceful community"). In a similar way, when the "bus service was disrupted", we should note the presence of the word rupture, which once again signifies a breakage. Some part of the "normal" life of the city was

50 “A City’s Shame”. Pg. 10. 51 An article, “Hospitals Swamped,” in the same paper has a heading “Glass Causes Cuts”. Much of the discussion concerning injuries revolves around broken glass.

dependent on the consistency and repetition of public transportation. There was a rupture, then, of the repetition of order. Finally, it is essential to note that the use of the word "disrupt" reconfigures control; the word substitutes for the absent bus service in the repetition of order.

Now, what about "merchandise"? At first it would seem as though the policeman and the product were simply sites for violence embedded within other physical boundaries – the car window, the store window. By literally puncturing the sergeant’s eye or by stealing a product - thereby removing it from the ‘legitimate’ processes of production and exchange for currency - boundaries were once again injured. These examples, however, begin to draw a correlation between window and merchandise; the severity of each breakage is magnified by the mere existence of the other boundary.

Figure 9 shows a looted dress store on Springfield Avenue with mannequins strewn about, both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. Not only had the windows been smashed, but all the merchandise had been removed. In this sense, the mannequins symbolize violated bodies, overturned and broken, stripped of the clothing. Typically, these mannequins act as a surrogate (of the shopper’s) body by ‘wearing’ the clothing within the store, as if the shopper is in the store. The clothes belong to the shopper inasmuch as they could be bought, and liberated from this surrogate body. This stand-in body, however, is an obedient body of fixed stature, expression, and hue; this body is implicitly a dutiful consumer, respectful of the monetary exchange value of the clothing. It is these bodies that are naked and damaged, thrown from the store. The ‘empty’ mannequins accentuate the continuity from the street to what was the interior. Furthermore, the absence of clothes and corresponding absence of commercial activity intimate a lack of order. This suggestion is reinforced

Newark Evening News Staff Photo

figure 9

as the mannequin parts spill out of the display window onto the sidewalk and then onto the street, erasing the social, political, and economic distinctions between these spaces. Ultimately, the frame of the photograph subjects the scene to containment; by capturing the ‘disorder’ and representing it in the newspaper, these effaced mechanisms began to be reinstated. The picture in the newspaper acts as a sort of window, tenuously maintaining the relationship between the potential anarchy of the scene and the order confirmed by the reader.

Newspapers themselves re-produce order by coming out every day, organized into different sections for different subjects and different areas of the world. The title of the paper at the top of the front page; the font hierarchy of the headlines, sub headlines, and articles; the bar under the title with the date and issue number; and the paper itself and how it folds all contribute to formally distinguish the thing as a newspaper. Through the distinctive font of the name of the newspaper, the copyright symbol, and the cost of the paper, all typically listed on the front page, this newspaper is intricately woven into larger capitalist mechanisms. Advertisements, encountered by opening the newspaper, not-so-subtly support this observation.

Like newspaper photographs, advertisements are separated from the main text by thin horizontal and vertical lines - or in some cases, by the horizontal and vertical edges of a picture. While text is normally excluded from the photograph that attempts to depict reality, the advertisement mixes text with illustrations, with photograph, with company logo. Different fonts and sizes are employed with regularity and the text is not forced to obey the same columns as the text outside the advertisement. Photographs, on the other hand, push captions written in a standard text outside (usually below). This text describes the subject of the

New York Times. Monday, July 17, 1967. pg. 23.

figure 10

photograph but relates to the general newspaper text inasmuch as both are understood to be sorts of ‘objective’ representations of events. Despite any attempts at ‘truth in advertising,’ information contained within blocks delineated as advertisements connotes persuasion and bias.

Figure 10 shows the bottom of a page in the Monday, July 17 New York Times. As expected, we find the text justified on the left, by the line bordering the photograph, and the right, by the line framing the advertisement. The news flows uninterrupted between the photograph and advertisement. Of course, the forces that keep all of the elements of the newspaper separate need to be investigated. I implicitly discuss the relationship between text and photograph in examples elsewhere in this paper, so my primary explicit interest here is the advertisement.

Most of the ads appearing in the six newspapers were for local businesses and consequently the formal separation was reinforced by the local/not-local divide – except, of course, in the case of the Newark Evening News. The Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn lists "five convenient offices" – Downtown, Bensonhurst, Green Acres, Flatbush, and Coney Island – all situated outside the riot area. The caption of the photograph describes a site "in fringe of the riot area" and "outside the St. James A.M.E. Church." The spatial distance between the two is obvious, but both the photograph and the advertisement indicate a lack of interruption. We can superimpose the words "business as usual"52 onto the advertisement, while in the caption the phrase "as usual" is used in reference to Sunday services. The "usual"-ness of these services might be considered tainted, however, by the existence of the National Guardsman in the foreground. What is "usual" is the background, a man in a suit and tie and a girl in her

52 James Cusick. “City Struggles Back to Life as Riot Restrictions End”. Front page.

Sunday dress preparing to participate in the orderly tradition of western religious worship. There are no broken windows, dismembered mannequins, fires, dead bodies, or bloodied faces, but there is the National Guardsman.

"Usual" seems less normal with the guardsman upholding a fragile implied boundary between the order of the background and the implied disorder outside the picture, and described in the text. The figure of the African-American man in a suit and tie reverberates with the sole black man in the advertisement, also sharply dressed in a suit and tie. Minorities were very rarely found in major newspaper ads in the 1960’s (an inequality that is still prevalent, although in a less overt manner) but this bank ad takes a sort of "man on the street" approach, sampling "opinions" of a variety of "customers." Therefore, we find both a woman and an African-American man expounding the virtues of The Dome Savings Bank of Brooklyn along with six white men. The boundary in the photograph is also echoed in the advertisement with the framed candid shots whose words are translated into emphasized and de-emphasized print. In the portrait of the black man and the accompanying text, we find that he dresses well, has a mortgage, and is an American Veteran. These are "model" citizens who have garnered or been given a certain amount of social collateral with which they can pursue the American Dream. While the potential for disorder looms off to the side, the benefits of self-control keep these people’s actions on the up and up.

A Gordon’s Vodka ad lies directly above the bank advertisement. This product, however, was a worldwide name-brand commodity with no particular local place of business – rather, the consumer knows already to go to the liquor store, or super market, or gas station in some states. In fine print at the bottom, the reader finds that the alcohol is distilled in

Newark Evening News. Friday, July 14, 1967. pg. 5.

figure 11

Linden, NJ, about 10 miles from Newark and New York City. As the product and its advertisements spread outward from Linden, NJ, with the primary purpose of turning a profit, Governor Hughes announced on the same page that "liquor stores and taverns would remain closed."53 Despite the authorities’ battle over the availability of alcohol, for fear that it would fuel amplified disorder, liquor ads continued to appear, even in the Newark Evening News. Somehow, the creation of the desire to consume was never discussed during the riots by anyone involved and this was reinforced by the formal strategy of the newspaper to separate news from advertisement.

In an ad for Leisure Village, in the Newark Evening News, an old white couple looks happily into the distance (future?), while at the top of the page, LeRoi Jones glances at the photographer from his seat in City Hospital. We might guess that "leisure" is for privileged whites54 who can afford "their freedom years." The expression of the couple, carefree and outside the riot area, sharply contrasts with a photograph of another couple, one page later, who were hurt while "driving through" the riot area.

The picture of LeRoi Jones, who is now known as Amiri Baraka, is one of the few photographs of a black citizen without a policeman or National Guardsman in the frame. His stare, directly at the camera, makes us all too aware of the camera’s place between him and us. He is framed in the photograph and held in the hospital (and later, arrested for carrying weapons), captured. This picture and articles written about Jones, who

53 Homer Bigart. “Plainfield Policeman Is Slain By Mob; Guard Sent In; 3 More Killed In Newark: House-to-House Search for Snipers Begun as Riot Enters 6th Day”. Pg. 23. 54 From the 1990 Census, Leisure Village reports 4,217 persons: 4,043 are white and 98 are black. Moreover, only 7 African-American above the age of 60 live there (which leads me to assume the rest are family or employees). I do not have similar data for 1960, but we can assume the figures were much the same, or probably even more biased.

was viewed as militant by the public and city officials for making public statements such as, "I love America. I hate the system. I would destroy the system tonight if I could,"55 kept him in public view. At the same time as he was being contained in the media space, Jones was being excluded from Leisure Village and suburban housing; products were constantly displayed but simultaneously put off-limit.


"The police could not stop the looters. They could only try to contain them."56 At the scale of the city, police sealed off a significant portion of the city (as shown in Figure 12-a), bounded by Clinton Avenue, High Street (which is now Martin Luther King Boulevard), Central Avenue, and the Irvington-Newark border. ‘Arrests’ were significant in terms of containing those suspected of looting and rioting. The New York Times reported that "scores of Negroes were taken into custody, although the police said 75 had actually been arrested."57 A photograph in Saturday’s Newark Evening News shows over a dozen black men in a police truck. The caption reads:

TRANSFER- Men arrested in Newark’s riot are seated on the floor of truck at the 4th Precinct before transfer to the Newark Street Jail. All Newark’s jails were jammed as more than 800 persons were arrested in connection with the city’s riot.58

55 “LeRoi Jones Seized in Newark After Being Hurt”. Pg. 11. 56 James Cusick. “Mile-and-Half Battleground: Springfield Avenue Scene of Several Clashes”. Pg.

5. 57 Maurice Carroll. “Newark’s Mayor Calls in Guard As Riots Spread”. Front page. 58 “Newark in Throes of Third Night of Rioting”. Pg. 5.

Newark Evening News Staff


figure 12

The flexibility and efficacy of the apparatus of incarceration were evident as "scores" of alleged rioters were "transferred" from street to truck, to precinct, to jail, to court, and back to jail. As arrests exceeded the capacity of city prisons, the prisoners were transferred to county jails outside of Newark or to the armory, "on the fringe of the riot area,"59 which had been transformed into a temporary jail; an inverse process to the eventual "sending in" of the National Guard.

The most direct and palpable tactic of containment was murder. By

12:15 a.m. on Friday, July 14, the Deputy Chief of Police, John Redden, told policemen to, "use any action to stop the looters and to protect yourselves."60 The New York Times said, however, that Mayor Addonizio instructed policemen at about 1:30 a.m. to "return gunfire when fired upon, or otherwise placed in jeopardy, and to take more drastic action to quell the mobs."61 A spokesman for the mayor’s office told the Los Angeles Times that "police are returning gunfire in several places."62 In any event, the official permission to use firearms led to a fatal shooting during the night of an unidentified black man. According to the police report, four men emerged with bottles from a liquor store window and ran across the street when ordered to stop:

Romeo said he drove the car after them and parked. One of them threw a bottle at Martinez, but missed, as he opened the car door. The quartet ran into an empty lot opposite 43 Jones St. The patrolman said they called four more times for the quartet to stop.

59 Bruce Buck. “Wheels of Justice Grinding Faster”. Pg. 4. 60 James Cusick. “Mile-and-Half Battleground: Springfield Avenue Scene of Several Clashes”. Pg.

5. 61 Maurice Carroll. “Newark’s Mayor Calls in Guard As Riots Spread”. Front page. 62 “Guard Called Out to Quell Newark Riot”. Pg. 11. July 14 was the first day that the Times covered the events in Newark.

Romeo said he fired his shotgun once as the fleeing men headed toward a hole in the fence. One of the men spun and fell on his back, dead.63

The actions of the two policemen, Romeo and Martinez, indicate that the first of the official orders was given to and understood by policemen. This passage does not place as much emphasis on the bottle that was thrown as it does on the allegation that the four men refused to stop. Even the subtitle of the article states, "Police Ordered Looters to Halt." Since the thrown bottle was merely circumstantial, any possibility of a threat to the policeman’s body was absent from the justification for killing the man. The two statements from the mayor’s office were conspicuously absent of the instruction to deter looting with force. One possible explanation is that the mayor’s statements were geared towards the media whereas the Deputy Chief’s statements were extracted from his direct instructions to policemen. The mayor, most likely aware of the political implications of his statements, was probably careful not to aggravate what he called an "ominous situation"64 by openly advocating police brutality. In any event, as the situation was "deteriorating,"65 lethal force was understood to be an acceptable tactic and, eventually, Governor Hughes stated that "the provisions of the emergency disaster proclamation are ‘broad enough’ to permit the shooting of looters if they do not cease their criminal activities."66 The act of making the proclamation legally blurred the confines of the law, leaving interpretation to the governor, who declared that murder was indeed legal, at least temporarily.

63 “Tell of Fatal Shot: Police Ordered Looters to Halt”. Pg. 5. 64 Maurice Carroll. “Newark’s Mayor Calls in Guard As Riots Spread”. Front page. 65 Leroy F. Aarons. “Troops Curb Newark ‘Rebellion’”. Front page. The word ‘deteriorating’ is a quote from Governor Hughes. 66 Bob Shabazian. “Hughes Denies Newark Riots Were Started by Communists”. Pg. 11.

United Press International

figure 13

The front page headline for the Newark Evening News on July 14 read, "3 Dead in City Riots"; on July 15, "7 More Slain in Riots"; on July 15 The Times, in London, stated "Eight Killed in U.S. Race Riots." These types of headlines, which described events as happening in riots, can be interpreted in several ways. In a sense, the newspapers assumed that there existed definite boundaries within which the "riots" occurred. By sealing off a significant portion of the city, the state defined spatially where the riots were happening. This definition is insufficient, however, when we consider that this effort at containment is founded in a paranoia that the riots would spread.

"Spread" was used in reference to the riots in the headline on the front page of the July 14 New York Times; the article said, "Negro mobs spilled…into the heart of the downtown business district."67 The riots in this case referred to the bodies of those in the "Negro mobs." Newark’s suburb, Plainfield, was also anxious about the possibility of the riots ‘spreading’: "except for isolated vandalism, violence did not cross over from Newark."68 Both of these quotes intimate that the riots were not bound to a particular geographic place, but whereas the former describes bodies crossing a boundary, the latter says that violence crosses. What does this embodiment of violence, which gives it the ability to travel, mean? I would argue that by ignoring the systematic and structural nature of violence and idealizing it as a sort of body, it becomes easier to contain within the word "riots." The word itself becomes a space in which excessive state intervention, in order to reproduce order, is legitimated. Therefore, the headline, "7 More Slain in Riots" alludes to this circular space within which seven people are killed, while these seven deaths

67 Maurice Carroll. “Newark’s Mayor Calls in Guard As Riots Spread”. Front page. 68 “Suburbs on Alert: Stoning Incident in Plainfield”. Front page.

create and reiterate this space. These headlines produce order through the act of describing disorder.

This tension was articulated at The National Conference on Black Power, which opened in Newark just days after the riots, where "the press swarmed over the block."69 An article covering the conference stated that "a sore point of the entire event was the banning of newsmen from most sessions of the conference."70 At one point, Martin Arnold, a newsman from The New York Times was "forcibly ejected"71 out from the same window, which he had just climbed through. This spatial struggle over who could be inside intersected with the impulse of the mainstream media to cover the conference.

Within the six newspapers’ coverage of the Newark riots, over the six-day period from July 13 to July 18, one dead body and dozens of arrested bodies were pictured. The photograph of the dead body appeared on the front page of The Washington Post on Sunday, July 16. Above it was a photograph of two men, who were suspected of looting, being detained. The victims (the two men with their hands on the hood and the murdered man) are not looking at the camera in either picture. In both photographs, the victims are pictured under the control of the state.

In Figure 14, the control apparent in the foreground contrasts with the "smashed mannequins" and barren shop in the background. The two military policemen, one for each detained man, hold their rifles nearly vertically with a deliberate grip signifying that they are ready to fire. Figure 14 also appears in the Newark Sunday News, and the article below it states, "Guns in the hands of the troopers and national guardsmen were

69 “400 Open Parley On Black Power”. Pg. 4. 70 Ibid. 71 Ibid. front page.

Newark News Photo

figure 14

ever on the ready and the eyes of the men who manned them swept every building."72 The bodies representing the state have been simplified to guns -such as in Figure 13, where the trooper’s gun and hand are indistinguishable - and eyes. Further control can be read in the position of the two detained men, motionless, with hands and legs spread and visible. This pose is typical for a person under police control. Furthermore, while this pose does not allow the detained to see their captors, it is bound to the eyes of the police: "Keep your hands where I can see them!" From the opposite side comes the gaze of the camera, spatially separated from the situation by two vehicles, one military and the other appropriated in order to hold the two men. This separation paradoxically implicates the photograph as a mechanism of control because the separation is in part created and mediated by the state.

The caption of Figure 13 states, "Police said this man was killed when he failed to heed a stop order after looting a burning Newark building." Directly below the caption, a headline reads, "Cause and Effect in Newark." One’s immediate impression is to draw several cause-effect relationships from the photograph. The word "cause" sits directly below the policeman who appears to have a gun in his hand, while "effect" is below the dead body. As I have already noted, failing to heed a stop order was considered cause enough to elicit police fire. Above the photograph, the headline declares, "Newark Restores Calm." Again, one is compelled to read the headline within the photograph. Webster’s dictionary traces the etymology of the word "restore" to the Latin, restaurare, which means "put back in original state, renew, rebuild, reconstruct." This murder becomes architectural in the sense that the event was a structural consequence of Newark’s reconstruction of "calm."

72 Warren H. Kennet. “Patrol is Like WWII’s: Guardsmen, Troopers With Guns Ready”. Pg. 13.

Once again, the victim’s body is caught between the media and the state. In this case, however, the policemen do not appear to be concerned with the body because it has already been wholly repressed, killed. The photograph is not merely an objective visual representation of the scene, but an image produced from a privileged space, which was created by the same forces that constructed the "calm" of the headline.

American newspapers historically do not show photographs of dead white citizens. It is therefore worthy to note that the only other person killed in the riots that was pictured was a white police detective named Fred Toto. The only photograph of him that was used (which is shown at the far right of Figure 2) was an official portrait, with him in full uniform. The July 15 Newark Evening News shows this picture on the front page with an accompanying article, "Detective ‘Gave All,’" praising his sacrifice, dedication, and accomplishments. Generally, the news counted deaths in the following manner: "One policeman and seven Negroes…were shot and killed last night;"73 "Seven persons, including a detective…were killed during the night."74

On the front-page of the July 14 Newark Evening News, in the same place as the article about Detective Toto, a fire in the downtown area was reported. Once again, whereas damage to buildings was typically of the form, "There were 76 fire alarms"75 and "hundreds of stores throughout the city were looted,"76 the burning building worthy of the front page was "in the heart of the city’s downtown section."77 Although Figure 3 was drawn to show the 4th Precinct, it also shows the location of this fire, at the

73 “16 Dead in Newark; Rain Halts Riots”. Front page. 74 David C. Berliner. “7 More Slain in Riots”. Front page. This article appears in the column to the left of the article dedicated to Detective Toto. 75 David C. Berliner. “3 Dead in City Riots”. Front page. 76 Ibid. 77 Thomas J. Hopper. “Fire Near 4 Corners”. Front page.

intersection to the right of the "X". Remembering that the location of this "X" is described as "in the heart of Newark’s Central Ward," we can infer that this burning building, "a jewelry shop, a discount drug store and an apparel firm,"78 holds an ideologically privileged position much like the police station, or Detective Toto.


As the riots "spread" downtown, this space was threatened, resulting in the intervention of the National Guard. The front-page headline of The New York Times on July 14 was "Newark’s Mayor Calls in Guard as Riots Spread" with a sub-headline, "Downtown is Hit." On the same day, The Washington Post’s headline for the Newark story was, "Guard Ordered Out In Newark Rioting" and in the Los Angeles Times, "Guard Called Out to Quell Newark Riot." [All italics my emphasis] In one respect the Guard is literally called in to the city, and in another, the Guard represents the "inside" of the nation as a whole, ready to be "called out." This action, which immediately added 1,000 (and eventually over 4,000) guardsmen and state police to the 1,400 city police, is analogous to the flexibility of the metropolitan prison system. But whereas those arrested where removed from the streets and, in many cases, moved out of the city, the Guard and state police were brought into Newark and put on the streets. Both of these processes illustrate the connectedness of the police and mayor larger mechanisms within the state, country, and world. By July 14th President Johnson had offered the use of federal law enforcement agencies. Figure 15 shows Mayor Addonizio with Governor Hughes at a press conference. The microphones, which mark the

78 Ibid.

constructed media spectacle as linked to major newspapers and television stations, are branded with corporate network logos. Whether the Guard was called "in" or "out" does not matter as much as the fact that they were called. Newark’s mayor has a ‘voice,’ with which he can activate this repressive state apparatus and disseminate information "out" to the inside of the United States and beyond to the rest of the world.

On July 15th, all six newspapers had photographs of national guardsmen and five of the papers had the National Guard on the front-page; The Times, in London was the only exception. Figure 16-a appeared on the front-page of both The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times and on the back page of The Detroit News. A faceless national guardsman (shown in the picture as a hand and a gun) holds a rifle such that it tilts slightly above horizontal. The weapon, with bayonet affixed, divides the photograph into two distinct parts. Reflecting the caption, "Negroes Jeer Armed Guardsmen Who Were Called Into Newark to Put Down an ‘Open Rebellion,’" [Italics mine] the photograph is segregated with the numerous black protestors under the gun. Buildings, trees, and the ground are also shown beneath the rifle, as opposed to the lone national guardsman, backed by an empty sky. The soldier’s stoic expression and posture oppose the emotional, "jeering" crowd, as if he is above such ‘irrational’ displays. His purpose is to "restore calm"; we can imagine from the photograph that this means silencing the crowd. Even his dress, a helmet and standard issue uniform, contrasts with the variety of styles and colors worn by members of the crowd.

Although the photographer doesn’t seem to be on one side of the gun or another, this does not separate the media from the situation. Rather, the camera is on a sort of axis with the dividing gun, associating the two. The photograph documents the spatial relationship between the

United Press International

figure 15

United Press International


(a) figure 16

two sides of the gun, but this act of documenting then creates new frames produced in parallel with and mediated by the rifle.

Figure 16-b, the front-page photograph of the July 15th New York Times, appeared on the third page of The Times in London and was included in the Newark Evening News’ July 14th paper. The captions were, respectively: "FRISKING LOOTERS: Policemen and National Guardsmen searching for weapons and stolen merchandise yesterday on Newark’s Springfield Avenue," "National Guardsmen and police guard suspected looters outside stores in Newark, New Jersey, after racial rioting," and "SIEZED-National Guardsmen, state police, arrest alleged looters in Springfield Ave." In addition to accompanying the same photograph, these captions all describe the same picture in a similar three-part manner: someone is doing something somewhere. As the distance between the site of the picture and the caption increases, the location within the caption changes as well, from "Springfield Ave." to "Newark’s Springfield Avenue" to "Newark, New Jersey." This obvious observation leads us to discover that the only constant person, verb, or place is the "National Guardsmen." They are a recognizable symbol of state power and were quite visible during the social turbulence of the late 1960’s. Furthermore, the National Guard has very definite limits; the capitalization of the phrase correlates with their uniforms, hierarchical organization, standardized training, and measurable enrollment.

Another similarity exists between the three captions, but it is inextricably bound to the National Guard. In all cases, the verb describes an action performed by the Guard: "search," "guard," and "arrest." This is reflected in the photograph, where the suspects are facedown on the ground with arms and legs spread (not unlike the dead man in Figure 13 or the two suspects in Figure 14). By noting the Webster’s definition of the word subject, "one that is placed under the authority, dominion, control, or influence of someone or something," my first inclination is that the men lying facedown on the sidewalk are the subjects in Figure 16-b. They are literally "under" the authorities, as well as under their control.

Another definition of the word subject, concerning sentence structure, says, "a word or word group denoting that of which something is affirmed or predicated." Applying this definition to the captions would indicate that the "National Guardsmen" are the subjects. Related to this definition is the word object: "a noun or noun equivalent denoting in verb constructions that on or toward which the action of a verb is directed." In this sense, the men who are facedown on the sidewalk would be the object of these captions. Would it be possible to situate the National Guard as the subject in the sense of the first definition?

Re-examining the first definition, the word "place" becomes problematic. One is placed under the control of someone or something, but who does the placing? The act of "distributing in an orderly manner" or "putting into or as if into a particular position" is performed by an unassigned hand. This anonymous hand works in "an orderly manner," however, putting things "into a particular position." Shedding the bodily metaphor, we can say that "order places."

Through the action of "arresting," one is brought under the control of the person performing the arrest. But by arresting, guarding, or searching, the police and National Guard are simultaneously reiterating their position. The verbs create a space of power from which one can subject another to order. Furthermore, this space can only be occupied by one who has already subjected one’s self to order (is a subject of order) and who continues to do so through successfully performing the particular action (arresting, guarding, searching, etc.) -thus being re-subjected. The uniforms of the National Guardsmen – which include clothes, weapons, actions, and posture – in Figure 16 illustrate their subjection to the state. As one reporter described a group of National Guardsmen, "They stood erect, bayonets attached to their weapons, and were poised for any eventuality."79 With each arrest by a representative of the state, order is produced and reproduced. "Domination of others must be doubled by a domination of oneself."80

These overt forms of domination contrast with the Newark Evening News’ front-page photograph (Figure 17) from July 15, 1967. Again, a national guardsman is featured but, in this picture, there are no protestors, no dead bodies, and no arrested looters. A similar photograph (Figure 18) showed up the next day in The Washington Post and on the front-page of London’s The Times. Both show linear streets, devoid of anyone but the National Guard, extending as far as the eye can see. The caption of Figure 17 reads, "DESOLATION- Springfield Avenue, usually bustling, was deserted wasteland today under eyes and gun of lone National Guardsman." Once more, equivalence is established between the Guardsman and his "eyes and gun." Even the photograph seems to prioritize the eyes of the reader. It was taken in such a way as to allow a maximum range of visibility – the vanishing point of each photograph creates a sort of relationship between the eye of the reader and the eye of the National Guardsman. In Figure 18, this is taken one step further as the conflated eye and gun of the National Guardsman aim along the street towards the vanishing point.

79 Bruce Buck. “Young Guardsmen Patrol Police HQ”. Pg. 10. 80 Gilles Deleuze. “Foldings, or Inside of Thought (Subjectivation)”. Foucault, University of Minnesota, 1988. pg. 101.

Newark News Photo

figure 17

Associated Press

figure 19

Furthermore, the implied direction of each photograph insinuates the containment strategy of the National Guard. Colonel William R. Sharp and Major General James F. Cantwell are shown in Figure 19-a studying a map of Newark’s Central Ward that reduces the area to a network of streets and other places of tactical importance. Curiously, there is no inverse photograph of rioters consulting a map. As the map suggests, these older white men were displaced from the events - they would be at the troop command or bivouacking in the accompanying map. The perimeter that they constructed in order to contain the riots (shown in Figure 12) falls between them and the sealed off portion of the city – at Central Avenue. Likewise, the National Guardsman, who embodies the perimeter in Figure 18, falls between the camera and the enclosed part of Newark.

The boundary shown in Figure 12, however, does not appear as an invention of the National Guard, but as the more ‘natural’ and ‘benign’ form of existing streets. This edge separates black and white; the black interior is the trouble-zone, the white exterior represents law and order. Governor Hughes’ statement that, "The line between the jungle and the law might as well be drawn here as well as any place in America" resonates strongly with this map. The racist overtones of the map and statement portray the ‘blackened’ interior as something that must be restricted, separated from the healthy white exterior, as opposed to suggesting that this interior was a construct of the exterior. One cannot help but remember the violence of urban renewal and its dependence on the medical metaphor of "blight"; this was echoed by a fear of the "spread" of the riots and the fact that traffic was "plagued by detours."81

81 Carolyn Zachary. “Traffic Detoured In Riot-Hit Area”. Pg. 2.


Newark Evening News Staff

(a) figure 19

Interestingly, the only time the violence "spread" to the downtown section of Newark coincided with Mayor Addonizio’s phone call, early Friday morning, to Governor Hughes, signaling the official start of the riots:

Mayor Addonizio who at 11:30 p.m. had termed the trouble "under control" called Gov. Hughes at 2:20 a.m., reporting that "the situation has deteriorated from a serious disturbance to a riot."82

At this time, while "shotgun-wielding policemen guarded firemen who were fighting a raging blaze at Broad and Market Streets,"83 the mayor asked the governor to send in National Guardsmen. The spatial proximity of the violence to the downtown area corresponds to the mayor’s perception of the events as a progression from being under control to out of control. It is noteworthy that the boundary as defined by the National Guard did not include the downtown area; rather, it contained a significant portion of the city to the west of Four Corners (shown as the intersection on the bottom of Figure 6) thereby displacing the violence to the Central Ward. At 11:00 p.m., Friday night, after the Guard had been called in, Mayor Addonizio declared, "I don’t think it is as serious as it was last night. I feel we have it contained in a small area now."84

Therefore, we find that the boundaries of Figure 12 - Central Avenue, High Street, Clinton Avenue, and the Irvington town line - all represented very sensitive edges. The legitimacy and power of the exterior was dependent on the creation and protection of this border. Furthermore,

82 David C. Berliner. “3 Dead in City Riots”. Pg. 5. 83 Maurice Carroll. “Newark’s Mayor Calls In Guard As Riots Spread”. Front page. 84 Maurice Carroll. “Curfew Imposed on City; Sniper Slays Policeman”. Pg. 10.

the "policy of containment"85 allowed the police and National Guardsmen to operate inside the area by arresting and killing.

Photographs, such as Figure 17 and Figure 18, were taken shortly after the entrance of the National Guard, and were accompanied by declarations of "calm"86 and "quiet"87 primarily due to Mayor Addonizio’s optimism. These photographs show the streets deserted, calm, and under the control of the National Guard. Although the looting did continue, it was at this point that the most ‘dangerous’ rioters moved from the streets to the rooftops, making sniper fire the primary problem. On July 17, the National Guardsmen were "pulled out" of Newark, with the announcement that violence in the streets has apparently ended."88would like to continue this discussion by analyzing the representations of ‘the street’ throughout the riots.


On Friday, July 14, 1967, the Newark Evening News reported that "the street itself was a battleground."89 The word "itself" was used for emphasis in apposition with the street, doubly highlighting it as a place of violence. But what is the street? We might begin to guess what James Cusick meant when he wrote this sentence: the area between curbs of the sidewalks; or maybe the area between facades; or maybe even further. Perhaps the street isn’t limited to spatial-material parameters, but is a socio-cultural construct as well.

85 Ibid. 86 “Newark Restores Calm”. Front page. 87 Leroy F. Aarons. “Troops Curb Newark ‘Rebellion’”. Front page. 88 David C. Berliner. “Guardsmen Pulled Out”. Front page. There were still “sporadic” sniping incidents, indicating the final stages of the rioters’ vertical retreat. 89 James Cusick. “Mile-and-Half Battleground”. Front page.

Webster’s describes the two primary possibilities for the street – it refers either to a place or people. It can mean, "the strip of a public thoroughfare reserved for vehicular traffic" or "a public thoroughfare including the property abutting it." Similarly it can refer to, "the people occupying property along a street." The street also has less site-specific connotations – it can mean, "the common man" or take on a derogatory quality when used with a preposition: on the street means, "idle, homeless, or out of a job," "the life or profession of a prostitute," or "released from confinement." There are dozens of phrases containing the word "street" as well. Despite all this, the street is often presented and understood as a unified, monolithic whole.

The street played an integral role at the beginning of the riots when civil rights leaders asked Police Inspector Melchior to take the police "off the streets." As I suggested previously, by "off the streets" these leaders meant "in the station." These prosthetic extensions of the police station were not just placed in an enclosure, but enclosed within a place of particular symbolic and institutional significance. If the public were to demand that a man be taken off the streets, they would most likely be insinuating that this man was dangerous and ought to be placed in a prison or mental institution. In this instance, the protestors also considered the police to be a dangerous and brutal force and requested that they be taken off the street. One woman said, "These police have no right to go around beating up defenseless people in the streets."90 What does the inverse mean – police on the street?

Whereas the preposition "on" in conjunction with the street could imply such ‘abnormal’ things as unemployment, homelessness, or

90 William Gordon. “’It’s Just Wildness’: Negroes Mortified by Rioting”. Front page.

prostitution, the policeman was an institutional presence on the street. The definitions of policeman and street intersect with the word "public": the policeman is entrusted with the "maintenance of public peace and order" and the street is generally characterized as a "public thoroughfare" or "the common man," John Q. Public. For the police to be on the street meant for the city to be "under control." As this control was contested, the street was acknowledged as a site of conflict.

The street was also portrayed by the newspapers as a sort of victim. "The hardest hit street in the city was without a doubt Springfield Avenue."91 Another reporter wrote, in an article entitled "Blasted Streets," that, "Springfield, South Orange, and Belmont Avenues and Prince Street were among the streets hit hardest by the roaming gangs."92 The principal meaning, of course, was that many stores on these streets were looted. Violated stores translated into damaged streets. Sniping, bottle-throwing, and arson all probably contributed to the assessment of a street as "hard hit," but all of these acts had discrete targets.

Snipers took potshots at the hospital, fire stations, police headquarters and other municipal buildings as well as the guardsmen and police in the streets.93

Perhaps snipers often fired indiscriminately and others simply spilled trash onto the sidewalk, but the actions of consequence to the newspapers were those with deliberate targets. In general, violence done to a street meant actions directed against commercial spaces and mobile spaces of authority or order, like policemen, ambulances, cars with white passengers, and reporters. One newsman wrote, after being targeted by a sniper, "The ugly names hurled at me many hours before really didn’t

91 James Cusick. “Mile-and-Half Battleground”. Front page. 92 Gerald Somerville. “Blasted Streets: People Wide-Eyed at Wreckage”. Pg. 5. 93 “16 Dead in Newark; Rain Halts Riots”. Front page.

make a difference. Nor, that much, did the rocks and bricks which the demonstrators throw. This was different."94 Like the reporters and photographers, who sought out fires, destruction, death, arrests, press conferences, and other discrete events, rioters confronted specific institutions on the street. ‘The street’ was the place where rioters engaged assorted instruments of order such as police, media, electrical workers, emergency medical units, public transportation, commercial spaces, and so on. While the events happened in three-dimensional space through looting, arson, sniping, and rock-throwing, these conflicts exploded the ideological space of the street as well. Over the course of the riots, it became more and more transparent that ‘the streets’ was a space of insides and outsides – spaces usually invisible behind the opaque representation of ‘the street’ as a singular entity. Don Malafronte, Mayor Addonizio’s chief aide said on July 14, "Police have been ordered to take effective action and maintain the control and safety of the streets."95

In addition to acting as a "battleground," the street also retained its function as a place for movement. Police attempted to restrict and control movement on the streets. The aforementioned violence was often described by terms like "hit-and-run rioting"96 and "hit-and-run gunfights"97 as "snipers and looters raced randomly from street to street."98 This violence in the streets was simultaneously a conflict concerned with movement. Those suspected of looting were always ordered to "stop" and those caught forming mobs were ordered to disperse:

"Move, everybody, move!" shouted the policemen.

94 David C. Berliner. “Target of Snipers: Newsman Trapped in Gun Battle”. Pg. 3. 95 “Guard Called Out to Quell Riot”. Pg. 11. 96 John J. Goldman. “10 Riot Deaths; 650 Hurt: ‘Open Rebellion’ Hits Newark Areas Torn by Fires, Bullets”. Pg. 9. 97 “Hit-Run Gunfights Erupt in Newark and 4 Suburbs”. Pg. 8-A. 98 John J. Goldman. “Newark Deaths Soar to 21 in Fourth Night of Rioting”. Front page.

The crowd moved down the block, turned the corner and disappeared. The troopers returned to their car.99

One National Guardsman, Donald Smith, said:

We’ve had orders to keep people moving. A lot of them give us a tough time. But when you actually touch them in the throat or neck with the bayonet they start to move.100

Every time the Guard would disperse a crowd, however, the group "reformed on another section of the street."101 The constant process of dispersal-reformation was the counterpart to "hit-and-run rioting." Whereas the snipers, rioters, and arsonists sought out institutional spaces to attack, the crowds formed on spaces without the presence of police and national guardsmen. As Figure 16 and Figure 20 indicate, however, these formed groups would often confront the police and guardsmen – but inevitably, they would be dispersed. Often, "the rock-throwing resumed and intensified when police started moving toward the gathering."102 The impromptu formations were sensitive to the location and movement of the police.

While attempting to scatter groups of blacks, the police were also conscious of their own relative form. On July 14, Governor Hughes toured Newark and declared that the police patrols were "much too thin."103 Consequently, Guardsmen and state police were brought into the city, thus giving better definition to the patrols on the street; eventually, the police, state police, and national guardsmen were constructed into very precise patrols:

99 John J. Goldman. “Violence Eases in Newark Despite New Sniper Fire”. Pg. 9. 100 Martin Arnold. “Negroes Battle with Guardsmen”. Pg. 11. 101 Don Vaillancourt. “2 More Deaths Raise Riot Toll to 15; Snipers, Looters Roam Central Ward: Curfew Remains”. Front page. 102 David C. Berliner. “3 Dead in City Riots”. Pg. 5. 103 Ibid.

Neal Boenzi. New York Times.

figure 20

Each sector was patrolled by at least two units, a unit consisting of four vehicles. In the first car were three troopers with a Newark policeman as a guide. The second was a jeep with three guardsmen and a trooper, the third a guard truck with an unspecified number of guardsmen and one trooper, and the fourth, a State Police patrol car with four troopers.104

With this sanctioned military presence on the street, the city instituted several rules in the 10-square-mile "riot area" to establish control of the streets. "All persons were barred from the area except those with legitimate business"105; Police Director Dominick Spina ordered that parking would be banned from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. on Clinton, Springfield, and South Orange Avenues from Friday through Monday106; and at one point, "all civilian automobiles were banned from the streets."107 Finally, a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew was put into effect. As the Newark Evening News reported, the effect was that "there were few people in the streets…It kept marauding mobs from the streets."108 In a similar sort of rhetoric to that which surrounded high-rises, "idle youth on street corners"109 were considered symbols of the ‘degeneracy’ of the inner city. The street in Newark’s Central Ward was heavily managed - who could be there, what could be there, and when they could be there. Eventually, "Newark’s streets were filled with the flashing red lights of prowl cars."110

By clearing congestion on the streets through bans on civilian automobiles, the state was attempting to control high-speed movement.

104 Moray Epstein. “CP Crackles With Activity”. Pg. 14. 105 David C. Berliner. “7 More Slain in Riots”. Front page. 106 “Night Parking Curb Ordered”. Newark Evening News. Friday, July 14, 1967. pg. 5. 107 John J. Goldman. “10 Riot Deaths; 650 Hurt: ‘Open Rebellion’ Hits Newark Areas Torn by Fires, Bullets”. Pg. 9. 108 Bob Shabazian. “Exhausted Mayor Sad at Inspection”. Pg. 4. 109 Douglas Eldridge. “A Battered City Ponders Storm: Signs of Impending Riots Cropping Up for Some Time”. Front page. 110 John J. Goldman. “10 Riot Deaths; 650 Hurt: ‘Open Rebellion’ Hits Newark Areas Torn by Fires, Bullets”. Pg. 9.

This control was resisted by groups of blacks who "stood on the sidewalk, ready to fire their missiles at any car carrying a white person."111 Often, "sniper fire pinned down city firemen…preventing them from responding to alarms."112 Wrecked cars obstructed streets, like in Figure 21. Molotov cocktails were hurled at dozens of cars and fire trucks113; mail was delivered to Philadelphia instead of Newark; and "uncollected garbage from the streets" proliferated.114 All of these examples illustrate a resistance towards the mechanisms of order through violence directed toward the automotive spaces that represented these mechanisms. The space of movement was a privileged space.

As a show of force during the daylight hours, 15 guardsmen in single trucks slowly patrolled some of the main streets. An automatic rifle poked out from the rear of one army truck.115

Figure 22 shows these military vehicles rolling along Springfield Avenue, asserting control over movement. Usually, the only time black citizens occupied a vehicle during the riots was when they were enclosed in one of the "big white vans"116 (shown in Figure 12) en route to jail. As the disorder in the streets was repressed more and more, it is not a surprise that the major type of rioting transformed from looting - at the level of the street - to sniping - from higher places down to the street.

111 Gerald Somerville. “Blasted Streets: People Wide-Eyed at Wreckage”. Pg. 5. 112 Michael J. Hayes. “Snipers Besiege Three Firehouses”. Pg. 4. 113 “Riot Kills 1, Injures 340 in Newark”. Pg. 10-A. 114 John J. Goldman. “Newark Deaths Soar to 21 in Fourth Night of Rioting: 1,500 Wounded and 1,000 Jailed Since Outbreak”. Pg. 22. 115 Ibid. 116 Ibid.

Newark News Photos


New York Times

(a) figure 21

Don Charles. New York Times.

figure 22


"Every time you think things are under control, sniping breaks out. It’s like fighting in Vietnam," the mayor said early today through reddened eyes.117

Although he was a decorated war-hero, Mayor Addonizio had never fought in Vietnam. This passage does, however, have an element of truth. As his "reddened eyes" suggest, the authorities were frustrated by their inability to see the snipers, a feeling further illustrated by Addonizio’s vain attempts to ascertain the identities of "agitators." On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times stated, "It became clear Newark was a city under siege."118 In this sentence, it is unclear who is laying siege to the city, but the context of the article suggests that it was the snipers. The primary reason that the sentence is vague is because although it implicates the snipers, the National Guard cordoned off 10-square-miles of the city, restricted vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and treated the situation with military force.

Despite this action Governor Hughes announced, "We’re in control of the streets, except for snipers. Nobody can control snipers."119 Reexamining the definition of the word siege, we find that this is an unusual siege because no one is surrounded and there is no army doing the surrounding. An answer can be found in the related words, sit and see. The power of this particular siege is predicated on sight:

"When you have a sniper on the sixth floor of a tenement, you can’t see a sniper," said the guardsman.

117 Bob Shabazian. “Exhausted Mayor Sad at Inspection”. Pg. 4. 118 John J. Goldman. “Newark Deaths Soar to 21 in Fourth Night of Rioting: 1,500 Wounded and 1,000 Jailed Since Outbreak”. Pg. 22. 119 Bob Shabazian. “Hughes Denies Newark Riots Were Started By Communists”. Pg. 11.

"For the first moment he has the advantage. He can see us, but we can’t see him."120

At certain times, this inequality of sight became especially problematic:

Police who rushed to the Columbus Homes on reports of a sniper began shooting at men perched on the roofs of the projects, only to find they were exchanging fire with National Guardsmen.121

Although the ‘reason’ for the exchange was absent, the police and guardsmen fired upon each other anyway, indirectly recalling a statement given during the riots by Stokely Carmichael: "Violence just is."122

In order to gain a better view of snipers, police used technology that raised their vision above street level:

A police helicopter flew low over the scene, almost peering into the windows of the project.123

This point of view was unknown to ordinary civilians except as a spectacle through the mediation of newspapers and television, like the photograph of a fire shown in Figure 23-a. In the photograph, our scope of the city in terms of area is greater than a photograph of another fire taken from a building (Figure 23-b), or another taken from street-level (Figure 23-c). In the process of ‘showing more’, however, individual people and stories are subordinated to buildings and the layout of the city. We should recall Figure 19, in which two official men study a map of Newark. The

120 John J. Goldman. “Violence Eases in Newark Despite New Sniper Fire”. Pg. 9. 121 Don Vaillancourt. “7 More Deaths Raises Riot Toll to 20; Snipers, Looters Roam Central Ward”. Front page. 122 “Black Power Prophet”. Pg. 10. Carmichael, who coined the phrase, “black power,” said this at the International Congress on the Dialectics of Liberation and the Demystification of Violence, in England at the time of Newark’s riots. 123 Don Irwin. “Sniper Shots Shatter Police Station Quiet”. Pg. 23.

AP Wirephoto Newark Evening News Staff Photo

(b) (c)

(a) figure 23

‘all-encompassing’ map and sky-view are two very particular ways of ‘seeing,’ which objectify the city.

It is noteworthy that this sky-view photograph was taken of a fire. On July 14, the Newark Evening News wrote, "Looting spread out from the 4th Precinct Area like an uncontrollable fire."124 Along with the disease metaphors, such as "plague" and "fever," public officials and newspapers commonly used fire metaphors in order to characterize the riots. Priorities became "containment" and preventing the "spread." During the fire at Four Corners, "firemen maintained a curtain of water on each side of the fire-wracked structure to protect the theater and adjacent buildings."125 This metaphor is taken to its sensationalist limits in a long article that described the death of a firefighter:

…"No, this is a good door. Why wreck it?" Moran said. "It must be only a small fire. Why ruin the guy’s building?"

…"If they get a fire going in a place like this, the whole street could go," Moran said.

…"Just let me get one look," Moran said. "They can burn the whole town down if we don’t stay with it."126

The author shifts scales of concern from the door, to the street, to the city. All of these quotes are preoccupied with the containment of destruction - not letting the problem create unnecessary damage.

Perhaps what worries many about "fire" is its lack of order, organization, hierarchy; it is a phenomenon of combustion that destroys physical material and produces ‘immaterial’ light and heat. Similarly, Mayor Addonizio and Governor Hughes were continuously searching for

124 David C. Berliner. “3 Dead in City Riots”. Pg. 5. 125 Thomas J. Hopper. “Fire Near 4 Corners”. Front page. 126 Jimmy Breslin. “Bullets, Hate Punctuate a Fireman’s Life”. Front page.

an underlying organization and reasons sustaining the riots. When they couldn’t find any, they either invented it or absorbed the disorder into their order, by imprisoning thousands of suspected rioters. When Governor Hughes arrived in Newark on July 14, from his Princeton, New Jersey home, he immediately declared that the situation was "not a Negro rebellion but a criminal rebellion."127 Presumably, he meant that the events did not appear to be the outcome of an appropriate civil rights protest. What the term "criminal rebellion" meant is unclear; but "rebellion" insinuates an overthrow of government for the purpose of establishing a new system of leadership. Even while dismissing the situation as "criminal," Hughes still superimposed his assumption of organization onto the events. Elsewhere, however, "Hughes said the question of valid protest against abrogation of civil rights was one thing but gross and dangerous criminal conduct was another."128 Regardless, it was quite clear that the state was comfortable with a "valid protest" and that this protest would not involve any breaks with the law. Many black citizens supported this ideology as well. A duplicating machine operator, named William S. Strafford, who was interviewed by the Newark Evening News said, "I’m all for peaceful parades and picketing but I don’t go along with this laying down in the streets and rioting."129 He went on to declare that the riots were attributable to "outside agitators," who were a mysterious group of people cited by citizens, newspapers, and public officials, but never arrested, named, or otherwise identified.

The origin of the term presumably came from suggestions of outside influence upon violence in other cities. In terms of Newark, however, Mayor Addonizio said "there was no evidence of any outside or

127 David C. Berliner. “3 Dead in City Riots”. Pg. 5. 128 Ibid. pg. 5. 129 William Gordon. “’It’s Just Wildness’”. Pg. 5.

organized agitation causing the trouble"130 in front of the Fourth Precinct police station on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. By Friday, Addonizio and Hughes "had no information that outside agitators were involved."131 By Saturday, Hughes termed the violence a "criminal insurrection"132 and on Sunday he denied that Communists had instigated the riots, and reaffirmed that there was "no evidence" that there was any outside agitation.133 By Tuesday, Mayor Addonizio proclaimed, "We’re convinced also that this was a planned situation."134 He referred "specifically to people being caught in the crossfires of snipers and the fact that once the police felt they had a situation under control sniping would break out in other parts of the city."135


Were the riots "planned"? Were there "outside agitators"? What produced such an intense paranoia? There has been no proof since 1967 that the Newark riots were planned, coordinated, or otherwise manipulated by any individual or group, excepting those involved with "restoring calm." This obsession with the outside may indicate a fear stemming from the instability during the 1960’s due to the Cold War, the possibility of a worldwide socialist revolution, student discontent, and inner city violence. As riots occurred in nearly every major city in the United States, the government followed the same procedures of containment to varying degrees. If the outside was able to get involved in

130 David Berliner. “Trouble in Central Ward Seen Isolated Incident”. Front page. 131 David C. Berliner. “3 Dead in City Riots”. Front page. 132 David C. Berliner. “7 More Slain in Riots”. Front page. 133 Bob Shabazian. “Hughes Denies Newark Riots Were Started By Communists”. Pg. 11. Addonizio stated that clergymen had said that outside agitation was involved. 134 “Mayor Now Sees Planning in Riot”. Front page. 135 Ibid.

the riots, then the anger and dissatisfaction of those living in the inner cities might have found immediate political coherence. Academics, journalists, and leaders debated whether each riot was a "race revolution" or merely a violent expression of frustration. On Saturday, July 15, Stokely Carmichael, who was in Britain, said, "They were rebellions, not riots, and they are likely to go on for quite some time yet."136 Within this battle over terminology, influential men struggled to define events with terms so as to incorporate them into their rhetoric.

During the riots, Donald Malafronte, an aide to Mayor Addonizio, said that violence had spread in Newark because civil rights leaders could not "control" rioters.137 Andrew Washington, of the Newark-Essex Congress of Racial Equality, responded, "He assumes Negroes are sheep to be led by one man or one group."138 Malafronte’s naïve statement and Washington’s response suggests a gap between power and ‘the street.’ As one organizer for the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee in Newark alleged, those that were acknowledged as civil rights leaders by the general public "have a lot of influence downtown with white people but very little influence in the black community."139 Playwright LeRoi Jones, now known as Amiri Baraka, "criticized Newark’s Negro leadership as hand picked, ‘windup toys’ of City Hall."140 The executive director of the Newark Human Rights Commission, James Threatt, said on the first night of the riots, "I wouldn’t expect my staff to go out on these streets"141; thus, not conceding his powerlessness on the street so much as recognizing the gap between downtown and the street.

136 “Newark Clashes ‘Likely to Go On’ Carmichael Says”. Pg. 22. 137 Thomas A. Johnson. “Newark Negro Leaders Agree No One Person Speaks for All”. 138 Ibid. 139 Ibid. 140 “Leroi Jones Hits Handling of Riots”. 141 “’Wouldn’t Listen’ Say Race Leaders”. Pg. 5.

"Downtown" and "City Hall" were places of institutional recognition, whereas the street denoted something quite different. "Street gang" leaders, who had influence with the black community, were "looked upon as radicals, Communists or outside agitators or they are classed as rabble."142 One popular sign asked the question, "Black policemen – where do you stand?"143 This confrontational question demanded that black policemen interrogate their association with power and place themselves outside of the group "police." Simultaneously, these people would say, "Bring us some black soldiers."144 The New York Times gives the following account of a conversation among a group of women looters as National Guardsmen approached:

"Do you see any soul brothers among them?"

"Not one blood among the whole group."

"They ain’t letting the brother into anything."145

The tension between the desire for more opportunities and this eschewing of the terms by which these opportunities were offered hints at a frustration over the structural framework within which these opportunities existed. One could only cross the boundary from outside to inside on the terms of the inside.

The disrupting effects of the first night of rioting rippled from the streets to institutions adjoined with the city. Post offices and downtown businesses shut down while the hospitals and jails overflowed. Violence only ‘spread’ to the downtown area once – with the fire at Four Corners –

142 Thomas A. Johnson. “Newark Negro Leaders Agree No One Person Speaks for All”. 143 “Riot Kills 1, Injures 340 in Newark”. Pg. 10-A. 144 Hollie I. West. “’The Revolution is Here to Stay’ Says Boy Amid Store Looting”. Pg. A13. 145 Thomas A. Johnson. “Leisurely Looters Defend Acts As Way to Deal With ‘Whitey’”. Front page.

although sometimes "snipers and looters appeared outside the armed ring, penetrating occasionally even into the heart of the city."146 While this physical "penetration" was rare, the threat of transgression disrupted business hours and in the case of businesses, shopping and profits. Certain headlines showed an effect reaching to the levels of state government – "Impact of Rioting Will Show at the Polls"147 and "Remap Decision Delayed by Riot." According to Postmaster Joseph Benucci, several people drove past the main branch of the post office, yelling "The post office is next,"148 contributing to three branches of the post office being shut down and the mail being rerouted to Philadelphia. Similarly, the Prudential Insurance Co., Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co., Continental Insurance Co., Firemen’s Insurance, and Public Service Electric and Gas Co. all closed their offices for the day on Friday. New Jersey Bell Telephone was the only large company in the downtown area credited with staying open.149 In all instances, however, these businesses and the post offices anticipated a return to "normal" – the offices cancelled work "for the day"150 and the postmaster predicted that "there was a possibility of Sunday mail deliveries."151

Fortunately for these businesses, the coming weekend softened the economic blow caused by closing during the workweek. Of course, many businesses in the downtown area were stores, as opposed to insurance companies, and were typically open over the weekend. In Sunday’s paper, the Newark Evening News reported that "compared to a normal Saturday,

146 “16 Dead in Newark; Rain Halts Riots”. Front page. 147 “Impact of Rioting Will Show at the Polls” and “Remap Decision Delayed by Riot”. Pg. 7. These articles appeared on either side of the weather column (“The Weather Cloudy”) which unintentionally portrays the riot as a sort of storm to be weathered. I will show how the rhetoric of business closings comes with the assurance that a re-opening is inevitable. 148 “Post Office Shut Down: 3 Branches Closed as Clinton Hill Station is Ransacked”. Pg. 5. 149 Carolyn Zachary. “Traffic Detoured In Riot-Hit Area”. Pg. 2. 150 Ibid. 151 “Post Office Shut Down: 3 Branches Closed as Clinton Hill Station is Ransacked”. Pg. 5.

the streets were desolate"152 and all the major department stores and many of the small stores were closed. These closures were due to a lack of employees because of "uneven public transportation"153 and a corresponding absence of shoppers. Although rioters rarely affected the Four Corners area in a direct physical manner, the desolation, closures, and absences illustrate the profound effect the riots had on this area, one mile east of the perimeter.

One man was overheard saying to another, "Where are you going? There’s nothing open."154 As is implied by the statement, the openness of businesses impacts how a body moved within the city. In fact, as most of the stores closed, bodies would only move through the area, for there was no reason to stop. The "desertion" of the downtown business district, which was home to the aforementioned insurance companies, already hints at the flight of white-collar workers to suburbs and the dependence of the district on commuters. In effect, by closing businesses, suburban whites were being distanced from the space of violence. This distance was mediated in such a way as to instill an affective alliance between the reader and the state; on occasion, a "riot-stunned" person would be photographed, thereby creating, in Brian Massumi’s words, "an empathetic ‘us’."155

On Monday, the Newark Evening News declared that Newark’s "economic vitality [was] sapped by the riot-induced interruption in its business and commercial life."156 The insurance companies were again closed, Seton Hall University’s summer sessions were cancelled for the

152 Herb Foster. “Downtown Newark Deserted: Normal Crowds Disappear From Four Corners Area”. Pg. 13. 153 Ibid. 154 Ibid. 155 Brian Massumi. Pg. 45. 156 Thomas J. Hopper. “Business in Newark Hit by Riots”. Front page.

day, jury trials were canceled, and an examination for real-estate brokers was canceled. Once again, however, these were viewed as interruptions as opposed to permanent closures, as the oft-used expression, "we are playing it by ear"157 suggests. All business was expected to resume the following day and soon return to "normal." The accumulated mail also began to be distributed throughout the city, except for the Central Ward, where "there was nothing to deliver to."158 This period of readjustment shows the disconnectedness of the Central Ward residents to the larger benefits and securities of more privileged citizens. What does "business as usual"159 mean to an historically underdeveloped area, which had just undergone the trauma and destruction of a riot?

A similar paradox arises when we consider the destruction done by rioters to their own property and places of business. This sentiment is expressed by one black citizen named William Sanders who said, "This sort of thing is not getting the Negro race anywhere. It’s just hoodlumism by people not interested in advancing themselves."160 Similarly, an editorial asks, "How this outbreak can serve the cause of civil rights… is impossible to understand."161 As a starting point, we should note that both statements, obliquely alluding to the American dictum that success can only be achieved through hard work, place the responsibility of achieving racial equality squarely on the shoulders of the black population. In so

157 Ibid. pg. 4. 158 “Will Resume Mail Delivery”. Front page. 159 James Cusick. “City Struggles Back to Life As Riot Restrictions End”. Front page. Full quote: “With a ‘business as usual’ attitude, schools, businesses, and transportation facilities swung back into operation.” The mechanical vocabulary describing the readjustment of power alludes to a complex, flexible system which is able to ‘shift gears’ between “normal” and “crisis”. In fact, part of the aim of this paper is to describe how a crisis and normality are not mutually exclusive; rather each exists in tandem with the other. 160 William Gordon. “’It’s Just Wildness’: Negroes Mortified by Rioting”. Front page. 161 “A City’s Shame”. Pg. 10.

doing, these statements divert attention from structural inequalities historically embedded in American culture.

Secondly, it is debatable how attached rioters were to property and commercial spaces. A woman stated, "These stores have been robbing these people for years and Negro businessmen can hardly beg, borrow or steal their way to renting a place on the street."162 This "place on the street" is a place endowed with economic opportunity, or an advantage that is unequally distributed. One man said, of a black storeowner, "The only thing is he gotta go downtown when he sell out and buy some more crap from the white man."163 Although he was pleased to see the store owned by a black man rather than a white man, he was conscious of the larger processes that concentrated wealth in the hands of white businessmen. Many stores were owned and operated by whites and these stores were always destroyed when encountered by looters while stores operated by blacks were usually left untouched.

By Friday, July 14, a "SOUL BROTHER" sign showed up on cars, houses, and stores owned by blacks. These spaces were almost always spared from looting and arson. This inversion of power came full circle when white businessmen painted the code on their own windows:

One businessman, who asked that his name and address not be given said: "What else can I do. If they don’t get me tonight, they’ll come around tomorrow. I can’t think of anything else to do."164

162 Thomas A. Johnson. “Leisurely Looters Defend Acts As Way to Deal With ‘Whitey’”. Front page. 163 Hollie I. West. “’The Revolution is Here to Stay’ Says Boy Amid Store Looting”. Pg. A13. 164 Don Vaillancourt. “7 More Deaths Raise Death Toll to 20; Snipers, Looters Roam Central Ward”. Pg. 12.

UPI Wirephoto

figure 24

The white businessman substitutes "me" for "my store", and asks that both his "name" and "address" not be publicized. This passage highlights the body’s superimposition onto the building, and consequently renders the man nameless and upsets the appeal of advertising due to the threat of retribution. Confusing matters even more, Donald M. Wendell asserted that state troopers "were taking potshots at the windows with the legend ‘soul brother.’"165 Many black owners along Springfield Avenue and Clinton Avenue made the same claims and Muslim Minister James Shabazz said that State Police and National Guardsmen "broke every window they could find"166 in the Muhammad Mosque No. 25.


Due to these charges and the fact that 24 out of the 26 people killed during the riots were black, it is no surprise that black leaders requested that state policemen and national guardsmen be removed from Newark "on the basis their presence was causing tension in the city."167 At 3 p.m. on Monday, July 17, Governor Hughes agreed that the time was right to "pull out." He said the "primary mission to restore order has been accomplished."168 Soon, electricity was restored, garbage removed, roads cleaned, mail delivered, businesses opened, public transportation put back on a normal schedule, and so on. Hughes also predicted that "People will feel safe to walk the streets again."169

165 John J. Goldman. “Violence Eases in Newark Despite New Sniper Fire”. Pg. 9. 166 Hollie I. West. “Negroes Assert Police Wrecked Their Shops”. Pg. A8. 167 David C. Berliner. “Guardsmen Pulled Out: ‘Rioting Is Over’”. Front page. 168 Richard Dougherty. “Semblance of Calm Prevails in Newark”. Pg. 11. 169 David C. Berliner. “Guardsmen Pulled Out: ‘Rioting Is Over’”. Pg. 4.

UPI Wirephoto

figure 25

Don Charles. New York Times.

figure 26

What was the difference between the street during the riot and the street after? A photograph, taken after the riots were declared "over," (Figure 25) shows one of the few token National Guardsmen remaining in the city watching children clean the sidewalk of Springfield Avenue. The street has been re-domesticated as the uniformed white man sits with his weapon erect between his legs while black children sweep away the material evidence of disorder. Although the National Guardsman would disappear from the scene in the photograph, the "restored order" was expected to remain.

In another photograph, (Figure 26) citizens wait for food outside the Friendly Neighborhood House. Rather than mobs or groups, the newspaper describes these people as a "line." To be "in line" means to be "in position to receive," where direction, speed, and therefore movement are controlled by the giver. Conversely, to "cut," thus breaking the order and authority of the line, disqualifies the potential recipient from the benefits of the line. Similarly, one must be "in line" in order to receive.

If one gets "out of line," in the legal sense of the phrase, they are soon "put in line," which means both putting the body in a particular position, such as in Figures 5, 12-b, 14, and 16-b, as well as placing the suspect into the judicial process. Superior Court Judge Lawrence A. Whipple said on Monday, July 17 that he hoped to present the 600 to 700 cases involving indictable offenses (out of over 1200 arrests) to grand juries before Friday, July 21.170 In the meantime, the Newark police "cordoned off the four-block area surrounding" the place of the hearings, where "200 prisoners [were] held in wire mesh enclosures."171 A ‘restoration’ of order was accomplished through placing bodies into

170 Audrey A. Fecht. “Newark Strife Jury Charged”. Front page. 171 Bruce Buck. “Wheels of Justice Grinding Faster”. Pg. 4.

particular places (lines, jails, "clean-up crews", etc.) and controlling their behavior within these places.

Another mechanism that became active after the riots was the insurance industry, which initially assessed the damage at $15 million. Those who could afford insurance were compensated to varying degrees. Of course, not everyone could afford insurance, particularly those in the area where the most damage was done; in some of these areas, insurance was difficult to obtain and the businessmen who found coverage were often obliged to pay high premium rates.172 Inevitably, many of these businessmen took the money and left Newark in favor of a more economically beneficial climate. As it turns out, it was the insurance industry that had the last word concerning the terminology of the violence:

"Most insurers exclude insurrection as a basis of payment but we define insurrection as an attempt to overthrow the government, which does not apply in the case at Newark. Any policy with an extended coverage rider takes care of riot and civil commotion, which is what happened."173

Many feared that Governor Hughes’ repeated assertions during the riots that the violence was an "insurrection" would invalidate Newark’s insurance claims.

Four of the six newspapers that I used for primary research featured editorials that were written at the tail end of the riot period. On Monday, July 17, The Washington Post featured an editorial entitled "Suicide in the Slums,"174 which discusses the self-destructive nature of the

172 Alexander Milch. “Rioting Costs Untold Millions, But Many Will Be Reimbursed”. Pg. 12. 173 H.J. Maidenberg. “Insurance Adjusters Assess Damage From Riots”. Pg. 22. 174 “Suicide in the Slums”. Pg. A16.

riots. On Tuesday, three editorials were published: "Repairing the Damage,"175 "We’ve All Failed,"176 and "Newark: Lesson for the Nation."177

"Repairing the Damage" mentions "substandard housing, obsolete schools and unemployment"178 as outstanding problems, but then proceeds to defend the actions of the Housing Authority:

But if it is a crime to raze slums, Newark in this instance must plead guilty. How a city is to abolish slums except by abolishing them is otherwise not apparent.179

One of the most inflammatory topics preceding the riots was the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry, which demanded 150 acres of land in order to build its campus in Newark. The demand was a "ploy"180 on the part of the college to justify a move to Madison. In response, the city offered 185 acres by declaring land ready for slum clearance before it was ‘ready’. While there was a tremendous amount of public support for securing the college, many people were incensed at the prospect of being displaced from their homes.

In another moment of support for hierarchical subordination of the citizens of the inner city, the editorial says, "these and other issues are certainly more susceptible of resolution around a conference table than in the bullet-pocked streets."181 This statement plainly overlooks a problem that is recognized in The Washington Post:

175 “Repairing the Damage”. Pg. 10. 176 “We’ve All Failed”. Pg. 14-A. 177 “Newark: Lesson for the Nation”. Pg. 4- Part 2. 178 “Reparing the Damage”. 179 Ibid. 180 Governor’s Select Commission on Civil Disorder. Report for Action. (State of New Jersey, 1968). 181 “Repairing the Damage”.

Highly centralized, impersonal government does not work to the benefit of the slums…

The people…clearly feel themselves utterly unrepresented and impotent in their city governments.182

By elevating the discussion to the "conference table" and out of the "streets," a fundamental exclusion was reinforced by the Newark Evening News’ post-riot enthusiasm for diplomatic resolution.

The Post, however, suffers from an overambitious zeal to contrast the riots with rebellions throughout history. After citing the Bastille, the New Poor Law in the English Midlands, wheat riots, and "any of a hundred lynchings,"183 the editorial declares that "the mob has never marched out of the slum to attack symbols of community authority, whether bastille or city hall or police headquarters." There is no mention of the containment policy, which kept rioters from City Hall in the downtown area, or the snipers who targeted ambulances, police cars, fire engines, reporters, and electrical trucks. The looters are described as "suicidal" because they destroyed stores in their own neighborhoods - as turning "inward"184 - despite the fact that the products within the stores within these neighborhoods were intricately bound to larger "symbols" of the consumer culture. Even though the editorial perceived the political isolation of these residents, it failed to see the relationship between the outside and the "slums," perhaps, in part, because of the frustration of leaders and pundits that "the people who explain articulately the reasons for the riot are rarely the rioters."185

182 “Suicide in the Slums”. 183 Ibid. 184 Ibid. 185 Ibid.

"We’ve All Failed" notes the exclusion of the African-American community from the "society into which they seek entrance."186

They point to the vast, overriding failure of our American society to digest its Negro minority as it has digested, incorporated, and come to terms with all the other ethnic minorities whose members began outside the Almagamated Mainstream Club and have found their way into it.187

This passage correctly alludes to a larger, structural problem with American society and through the verb "digested" suggests a bodily metaphor, which in turn reminds us that the road to integration often intersects with the bedroom. Of course, the blanket comparison between ethnic enclaves of the past and the predominantly African-American ghetto of recent history is misleading. With the history of forced displacement from Africa, slavery, and rural-urban migration, it is not particularly accurate to compare these ghettos with all areas that became home to immigrants, where support systems, employment, and often local ownership of businesses were usually available or soon created.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial, like all the others, denounces "the violence, the arson, the looting,"188 saying that the violence "threatens the basic processes by which men undertake to live together in something approaching civilized society."189 It then, like the others, declares that "jobs, housing, better schooling and improved police-Negro community relations" were problems that needed to be solved, making the same point as the accompanying editorial comic that the "outbreaks must be seen more as effects than causes of the problems."190 This comic portrays the

186 “We’ve All Failed”. 187 Ibid. 188 “Newark: Lesson for the Nation”. 189 Ibid. 190 Ibid.

Los Angeles Times. Tuesday, July 18, 1967. pg. 4- Part II

figure 27

downtown in the distance, characterized by a cluster of skyscraper-like buildings, which bend, lean, and break due to the inevitable collision with the path of dominos. Perhaps most telling are the reverberations between the rigidly rectangular prisms of the skyscrapers and the monolithic regularity of the dominos. We can imagine the simultaneous and interrelated processes of development and underdevelopment, which created the collision of structure and underdevelopment-as-structure.


Near the end of the riots, Governor Hughes announced that he "could sense the rebuilding of the social order."191 An editorial in the Newark Evening News described "rebuilding [as] a task that goes far beyond the physical restoration of burned and looted shops."192 These statements both describe social order as architecture. The architectural metaphor is developed in the editorial: "At the heart of the city’s immediate problem is the reconstruction of shattered relationships between Negro and white communities."193 Likewise, upon visiting Newark on Friday, July 14, Representative Peter W. Rodino Jr. declared it necessary to "rebuild the essential enterprises...and reconstruct the progressive spirit of Newark."194

Those who rioted deployed the same architectural rhetoric. The goal of The National Conference on Black Power, for example, was expressed in terms of architecture; but more specifically in this case, the home:

191 John J. Goldman. “Violence Eases in Newark Despite New Sniper Fire”. Front page. 192 “Repairing the Damage”. Pg. 10. 193 Ibid. 194 “Violence ‘Sickens’ Rodino”. Pg. 4. assembly of black Americans, as in an intimate family gathering, to set our own house in order and to work for the unity of the black people and the greatest good for all.195

While the metaphors used by the authorities - mainly the media and politicians - suggest a certain amount of copying, trying to imitate a past, those used by African-Americans tended to allude to the future (almost rendering the phrases paradoxical). At one point during the riots, a group of mostly black volunteers handed out fliers, which urged rioters to "end it now and start rebuilding for a new day."196

This rhetoric is not accidental. What was at stake in the riots was architecture, but not architecture as we traditionally understand it.

195 Douglas Eldridge. “Riots Top Agenda Of Negro Parley”. Pg. 4. 196 Don Irwin. “Sniper Shots Shatter Police Station Quiet”. Pg. 23.


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