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The following program is from WNET 13. Black Journal is an on-the-air magazine reporting on the personalities, ideas, and issues that affect Black America. It attempts to achieve balance by reporting from a Black perspective. Once again, Black Journal is inviting the national Black community to participate in a two-way conversation with its Black leaders.
During a pre-recorded 90-minute special to be shown nationally at 8.30pm on May 15th, 12 major spokesmen will answer your questions. Last year's program was a tremendously successful experiment in the use of television as an instrument for positive social reform and two-way communications. Among our guests this year are Stanley Scott, Special Assistant to President Nixon, Congressman Louis Stokes, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Judge William Booth, Angela Davis, Percy Sutton, Burrow President of Manhattan, Stokely Carmichael, Fannie Lou Hamer, and others. We invite you to call in your questions to this distinguished forum. Call 212-582-9940 with your questions. Those chosen will be answered on the air. Call 212-582-9940. That's 212-582-9940. Sorry, we cannot accept collect calls.
Remember, Black Leader 73 will be shown nationally at 8.30pm Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, May 15th. But we find that because it is a predominantly white neighborhood, most of the Black parents are afraid to send their children to school. The children are afraid to come to school. Let's go! The fact that I'm Black, I don't think I have to demonstrate. White people still control everything. The money, the economy, they still control the city council. And so they're very defensive about that. Black Leader 73 will be shown nationally at 8.30pm Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, May 15th.
Black Leader 73 will be shown nationally at 8.30pm Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, May 15th. Black Leader 73 will be shown nationally at 8.30pm Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, May 15th. Black Leader 73 will be shown nationally at 8.30pm Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, May 15th. Black Leader 73 will be shown nationally at 8.30pm Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, May 15th. For most of its history, the city of New Jersey has represented a little more than a busy industrial center across the river from New York City.
During the last 15 years, however, Newark has undergone drastic physical change, vast stretches of areas that once housed Jews, Irish and Italians are now totally Black. Nearly 70% of Newark's population is Black. In 1967, a frustrated Black citizenry plagued with poor housing, under education, under unemployment, finally exploded in rebellion, forcing its impact into virtually every home across America. A mere three years later, however, a more politically sophisticated Black populace took those same frustrations to the voting booth and elected Kenneth Gibson as the first Black mayor of a major northern city. I, Kenneth Gibson, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New Jersey and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of mayor according to the best of my ability. I present to you formally the Honourable Kenneth A. Gibson, Mayor of the City of Newark.
I am not asking for the usual 100 days that newly elected officials get as a so-called honeymoon. I am not asking for the thousand days that a former president got. I am asking for your full and continuing cooperation. This thing is bigger than you and it's bigger than me. But in unity there is strength. I ask for that unity now from all persons interested in the future of the City of Newark. Let's all remember that it is our future and the future of our city. Walk on through sunlight. In 1970 Black Newark danced and rejoiced at the election of a Black mayor. I am asking for your full and continuing cooperation.
Thank you very much. The Gibson administration inherited more than the usual amount of hidden problems which are traditionally passed from one political family to another. Former Mayor Hugh Adonizio was convicted on 64 counts of extortion and conspiracy and the total reality of his corrupt government was to be discovered long after the Gibson inauguration. Couple this with the usual problems of most urban centers, racial tensions, a sagging tax base, a rise in crime and a failing school system.
Public schools in Newark, the victim of repeated teacher strikes, one distinguished as the longest in the history of the country, have consistently turned out an undereducated population. Black students attending Valesburg High School, one of the last predominantly white schools in the city, recently demanded the ouster of the school's disciplinarian James Moselle. They charged Moselle a black man with severe and unfair practices. White students immediately began a counter protest and initiated a six week boycott of all the schools in the Valesburg district. A few years earlier it was white students who call for Moselle's ouster for similar reasons. However, what happens in many instances in the city of Newark is that some whites adopt the attitude that anything black people want, they don't want. Moselle was eventually relieved of duties as disciplinarian and resigned as an assistant with no teaching powers. But the issue is much deeper than one teacher. It has to do with white fears of black control.
Racial tension is now at such a high level that our black journal film crew was verbally assaulted and threatened by whites who were demonstrating against an alleged takeover of Valesburg High School by blacks. They turned their backs on our cameras in defiance. This is how you walk in a shirt like this. They weighed the American flag and under this American flag they used the American flag for all of this ugliness, for all of their threats, for all of their intimidation.
Yesterday to see little children being intimidated under the American flag, to me was a desecration of that flag. It was not an honor. I've tried and we have tried to get a group together of those parents who are interested in sending their children to school. But we find that because it is a predominantly white neighborhood, most of the black parents are afraid to send their children to school. The children are afraid to come to school. We were concerned that no policemen were there to escort those children who were sent to school by their parents. They were not escorted into the school and we as concerned parents went and escorted those children there. In Houston's name, Leroy Jones, automatically is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. They know that it will incite a white group of people. They become fearful. They react out of fear. This name incites and inflames all of the white people. We have asked them, why are they afraid of a black poet? We have not received an answer except that he is a black militant. I think that the Mamu Baraka has nothing to do with it. It has clearly become a case of black against white. It has now become a racist issue with no facts involved.
In a situation like this, it is horrible because people that you have known, people that you have worked with for long periods of time, to suddenly see them on a picket line, to suddenly see them among people that are waving flags and that are yelling things like communists and go back to Africa and things like this. Even though they themselves might not be saying it, to see them among these people that are saying it hurts. It really makes you feel it sort of lures your trust in human nature. All whites living in the Valesburg area do not support the protest. I feel personally there is a lot of racial feeling in the Valesburg area. Valesburg for a long time, I believe, has wanted to become a separate community in itself and sort of sweep the rest of Newark under the rug and the sufferings of Newark away and take someone like Imperiala Leon as their mayor and sort of form their own utopia.
Black pride and black power. 19 year old Ademo Changa, formerly Larry Ham, is the youngest person in history to serve as a board of education member. I view the Valesburg school situation as an unfortunate controversy. I think that right now this controversy is being used as a vehicle for a political opportunist like Anthony Imperial, John Surveys, Baton, and his five other cohorts. I think it's very unfortunate that they would use their own people to further their own political careers. Right now the thing that I'm concerned about is the safety and welfare of the black students that attend Valesburg High School. I'm trying to do my part in improving the Newark public school system, not from the sense of administrative directives and policies determined by our own administration here at the Board of Education, but through the student themselves trying to inculcate in the students new priorities and attitudes.
On the same day white parents held their final large demonstration at Valesburg High School. Black students intimidated by the white protest did not attend school and instead marched downtown in front of the Board of Education. In the beginning the Gibson election signified a new hope and direction for Black Newark. After years of giving power to those who used it against them, Blacks felt they were getting a piece of the action. That dream did not last long. Newark city government is so designed that the mayor has weakest powers of all. Under the city charter, the mayor may not make political appointments, utilize a budget or fund various projects without the approval of the city council. At best the relationship between Gibson and his council has been rocky. More often than not voting on major issues is done along racial lines with the three black city councilmen on one side and the six white members on the other. The constant blocking of some of Gibson's most important programs has repeatedly led him to publicly complain about a lack of support from the council.
It has been a bitter lesson for all concerned. Currently black youth in the city are conducting a recall campaign against the three white councilmen at large who they claim are illegally in office because they do not represent the desires of the city's black majority. Blacks who had high hopes of change in 1970 have come to grips with reality three years later. We are embarking upon a new era in Newark where all people will come together to make this city a city of respect, a city where you travel, you can say with dignity that I am a resident of Newark. This is definitely going to come about on the mayor of Gibson's administration.
I believe, although I have some doubts, we are now standing at the opening of a new day in Newark's history. The residents of the central ward are sick and tired of piecemeal efforts that fail to deal with the problems that affect our community. It's a new day brothers and sisters of the central ward because although our ward contains the city's worst slums, we are ready to reverse this trend in order to save the city of Newark. Newark needs soul in order to be saved. And we've got soul in the central ward. It's a white boy who still controls and that's going to be held against us. We're going to be held accountable for his misdeeds. I say that Newark can grow in prosper.
I say that Newark can be the city of tomorrow. A city rich in opportunity for all. A city of quality and education and its people. For no longer can governments afford the luxury of playing politics or business as usual. Well, I vividly recall that most black Americans in the city of Newark, I really expected changes. We talked about, I go back to Election Day, a very historic Election Day, dancing down Broad Street, dancing down Clinton Avenue, parties all night. So now I think all of us are beginning to say, wow, a black mayor is just not an instant panacea. The problems are still here. Our streets are still dirty. We still have abandoned cars, abandoned houses, the problem of sanitation, the question of quality education in our school system, the need for better housing and of course a need for more job opportunities. And rather than meeting the cries of the black population, interestingly enough, mayor Gibson has proclaimed that he's mayor of all people.
Now I certainly can understand that, but I think we do have to address ourselves to the need to the black population, who are the majority citizens of Newark. I think we do have to do more for them now than Adonisio did during his tenure in office. The fact that I'm black, I don't think I have to demonstrate. It's very difficult of course to respond to all of the demands that certain black groups make. It's impossible in fact to respond to those demands. The past is that, of course, we have a continuing problem and that's basic of providing the services to the public that they in fact pay for by paying their taxes. And that is a major problem, just picking up the garbage and providing police protection, putting out fires. That is a monstrous job with the kind of staff that we have and the kind of structures that we have been erratic. And I think we've improved the way that city government has functioned. And I don't think that solution to the city's problems will come dramatically. I think they'll come gradually.
Beyond that, we had a problem of attracting qualified top staff people to take their jobs that we had available. The director of health and welfare friendships has been a continuing problem with this administration. Simply because the job does not pay enough money for the kind of qualifications that we demand. The police director's job is always a problem because there are certain people who wanted for one reason and other people who wanted for the right reason. The time I was originally nominated for this job, I felt that there would be a rational vote on it. And then I would be, the nomination would be approved. But I found out that due to political pressures, I still maintain political pressures. And a lot of emotionalism that I was not approved on the first time around. I had no idea what happened the next time around.
Lieutenant Edward Kerr, a 15 year police force veteran, was nominated by Mayor Gibson as the city's police director. But the nomination has twice failed to be approved by the Newark City Council, whose members voted along racial lines. The first structure in the power base, the way I looked at it, has changed dramatically from the time I was in my early 20s. And because of that, I would say there's a reason for some of the problems you're having now. The contrary to what many people think, we have a strong council, weak mayor form of government. Many people are on the impression that Black mayor was going to get in in the Utopia would be here for the city of Newark. But they neglected the fact that the council has a lot to say about what is the matter of fact the council has these say in terms of what will be done to this city. Most of the issues, of course, not all, but most of them. Most of the big important ones usually go down to six, three vote along those lines and white zone ones on the blacks on the other.
So it really hasn't changed that much. We need to control the council as well as the office of the mayor. I think Black people always live in a situation where it's black against white. It's just in Newark we're able to make the protest felt because there's more of us here. In most communities, it's always black against white. It's just that the black sense of small entity that it can be easily squashed. He in Newark, because we like our majority of people in the community and have those offices that may and police chief, even though they should be functioning a little more responsibly in my estimation. Still, it means that the whites usually feel very defensive because they think blacks are going to take over everything. When in fact, they still control everything. White people still control everything. The money, the economy, they still control the city council. And so they're very defensive about that.
People who are up in Newark, what are some of the changes that you've seen over the years, some of the dominant changes? Dominic changes is the political kind of consciousness that the people have now. And I think that's the change you see most of the country. Most of the country that the black people simply will not be disregarded. I think that's the main change. There are... I mean, the whites have always oppressed us and disregarded us. They still oppress us and they try to disregard us. But we try to see that they can't disregard us in silence. You see, unfortunately, some papers and some television cameras just want what can sell. They don't want the real human interest here. So they make it even if it's a community versus adverse influence. They'll make a black and white because it sells. This is what is going to destroy America. And Newark, the overall unemployment rate is 14%, nearly three times the national average. In the year 1971, 30% of the black males between the ages of 16 and 25 were unemployed. Although Newark leads the state as a commercial and financial center, it was the first major city in the country to have more of its workforce made up of commuters from the suburbs than from its own residents.
Most people have to go out for any decent job, have to go outside of Newark. Most of the jobs here that pay anything are held by people who live in the suburbs. They come in and they work the job and then they go back to the suburbs at five o'clock. You can stay out here on the streets and see them shooting out of town going back to the suburbs. The black people and black people in Newark have to get fine job elsewhere. The young black workers are a group of workers that are working at mainly at the Ford and Marwa industrial plantation in Marwanda, Jersey. And we're trying to educate our fellow workers into problems that exist as workers and to get them involved not only in the plant but also in the new community. Well, I've been in Newark and it was in 47 and I've been doing this work everything for myself. I work to crack all contractors and write in. There's a few changes that have been made but I don't see why it's been two-minute made not in this kind of way.
You know, only thing different now, they've got more machines than they used to have. You know, you have to take down by aim and not take it down by machine. That makes it different. What you don't have, you don't have it in many men working. You have that many men unemployed till being working. Nothing wrong with the city. Nothing wrong with the city for a mega time. Nothing wrong with the city. But it's some of the people in the city. Some of the people in the city, not the city. What you don't have in the city. Nothing wrong with the city. Nothing wrong with the city. Nothing wrong with the city.
What you don't have. What you don't have in the city. What you don't have. What you don't have. What you don't have.
What you don't have. What you don't have in the city. What you don't have.
Black Journal
Episode Number
No. 328
Black Newark
Producing Organization
WNET (Television station : New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
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Series Description
Black Journal began as a monthly series produced for, about, and – to a large extent – by black Americans, which used the magazine format to report on relevant issues to black Americans. Starting with the October 5, 1971 broadcast, the show switched to a half-hour weekly format that focused on one issue per week, with a brief segment on black news called “Grapevine.” Beginning in 1973, the series changed back into a hour long show and experimented with various formats, including a call-in portion. From its initial broadcast on June 12, 1968 through November 7, 1972, Black Journal was produced under the National Educational Television name. Starting on November 14, 1972, the series was produced solely by WNET/13. Only the episodes produced under the NET name are included in the NET Collection. For the first part of Black Journal, episodes are numbered sequential spanning broadcast seasons. After the 1971-72 season, which ended with episode #68, the series started using season specific episode numbers, beginning with #301. The 1972-73 season spans #301 - 332, and then the 1973-74 season starts with #401. This new numbering pattern continues through the end of the series.
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Host: Brown, Tony
Interviewee: Baraka, Imamu
Interviewee: Haddock, Wilbur
Interviewee: Imperiale, Anthony
Interviewee: Smith, George
Interviewee: Parker, Constance
Interviewee: Chan, Dorothy
Interviewee: Rotz, Lois
Interviewee: Kerr, Edward
Producing Organization: WNET (Television station : New York, N.Y.)
Speaker: Harris, Earl
Speaker: Gibson, Kenneth A.
Speaker: Westbrooks, Dennis
Speaker: James, Sharpe
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Library of Congress
Identifier: cpb-aacip-e0a2f6ccdcc (Filename)
Format: 2 inch videotape
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Chicago: “Black Journal; No. 328; Black Newark,” 1973-04-17, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 20, 2024,
MLA: “Black Journal; No. 328; Black Newark.” 1973-04-17. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Black Journal; No. 328; Black Newark. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from