On Monday, July 12, the People’s Organization for Progress will host its annual Rememberance of the Newark Rebellion.

This year will mark the 54th anniversary of the epic uprising.

Participants will rally at Rebellion Monument Park at 5pm and march to the former 1st Precinct where the uprising began.

The Rebellion Monument is located at 250 Springfield Avenue, Newark.

On July 12, 1967, the brutal near fatal police beating of an AfricanAmerican Newark cabdriver named John Smith triggered one of the most important urban uprisings in the modern era. It would ignite over 100 uprisings around the country including the largest uprising in Detroit on July 25th. It would continue on until July 17th when occupying federal and state military forces finally withdrew from the beleaguered city.

Although the historic uprising would take 26 lives, it would also ignite a wave of protest and organizing that would forever change the political landscape in segregated American cities, leading to the elections of a new generation of Black elected officials in largely Black communities by the full use and mobilization of a new access to the ballot and more. In Newark, that would mean electing Ken Gibson the first Black Mayor of a major eastern seaboard city and displacing urban gangster apartheid that brutally chained local politics prior to that groundbreaking election in 1970.

Newark would become the epicenter of the new national Black Power Movement as the late Amiri Baraka led pivotal organizations such as the Committee For A Unified Newark locally and the Congress of African People nationally and launched the Black Arts Movement.

Having survived a brutal police attack and arrest himself at the beginning of the uprising, Baraka chaired the national Black Power Conference just days after the Rebellion in downtown Newark.

In recent years, Mayor Ras Baraka, the radical icon’s son, taking on the same question of police brutality and corruption, sought to implement the strongest Civilian Review Board in the country upon his election in 2014, one with full subpoena power, one with the authority to do independent and concurrent investigations, one with genuine community character and one with a solid discipline matrix.

After a bitter legal fight with the police unions, the NJ Supreme Court stripped the new Review Board of its critical authority, but said that it could be restored through statewide legislation.

The People’s Organization for Progress is a part of a statewide movement to have several major police reform bills passed into law, including the CCRB Bill A4656 that would mandate Civilian Review Boards with full subpoena power, independent and concurrent investigatory power and community character for any municipality seeking one.

“Do we realize that if we had Civilian Review Boards like what we are fighting for here in Newark, George Floyd would be alive,” asked a passionate Lawrence Hamm rhetorically on behalf of the organization.

Several local cases will also be spotlighted, The case of Carl Dorsey who was shot and killed by an undercover Newark detective on January 1st and most recently the Rodwell Brothers, four brothers who were wrongly arrested recently by overaggressive undercover officers in the South Ward recently. The brothers are each facing serious felony charges ranging from resisting arrest to aggravated assault on a police officer. Supporters are demanding that the charges be dropped.

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