The 1967 Newark Civil Disorders
The hearing transcripts of the Governor's Select Commission on Civil Disorder (Lilley Commission) offer first hand accounts from over a hundred witnesses to the events that have come to be known as the Newark riots or civil disorders. Beginning on the evening of July 14, 1967 and lasting through July 17th, violence in the City of Newark claimed 23 lives and destroyed ten million dollars of property. The unrest also spread to cities and towns throughout New Jersey.
On August 8, 1967, Governor Richard J. Hughes selected Robert D. Lilley, then the head of New Jersey Bell, to lead a commission "to examine the incidents and remedies for the civil disorders which have afflicted New Jersey." Over the next six months the Commission held 65 meetings, and examined 106 witnesses. The transcripts record the sworn testimony of the taxi driver whose arrest and treatment sparked the violence, the police officers who arrested him, New Jersey officials, state and local police officials, affected business owners, community activists, clergy, and members of the legal and academic communities.
In charging the Commission, Governor Hughes said: "What I am seeking, and what the people of New Jersey expect, is not a meaningless and detailed repetition of studies, but a realistic analysis of the disorders...and practical proposal which, hopefully, will prevent their recurrence in our State." The Commission ended its report with a detailed list of recommendations, many still relevant to today's urban challenges.
The report and testimony show that substandard housing and the lack of affordable housing were important contributing factors to the civil disorders. The detailed record these transcripts provide is essential information for anyone seeking to understand this critical moment in the history of our nation. The collection includes approximately 6,000 pages of hearing transcripts and associated reports.
Report for Action, by the Governor's Select Commission on Civil Disorder (Lilley Commission report)
Report and Hearing Transcripts of 1967 NJ Civil Disorders (Lilley Commission report)