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Governor's Select Commission on Civil Disorder Records (1967 - 1968)
RepositoryNew Jersey State Archives
Collection IDSZCID001
Size16 boxes
Collection Description
On August 8, 1967 only a few weeks after the serious disturbances which had occurred in Newark and several other New Jersey cities, Governor Richard J. Hughes created the Select Commission, which he charged with producing a "realistic analysis of the disorders ... and practical proposals which, hopefully, will prevent their recurrence in our State." The 10-man Commission, with Robert D. Lilley, president of the New Jersey Bell Telephone Co., as Chairman and Raymond A. Brown, as Vice Chairman, gathered reports, flyers, clippings, and other relevant documentary material and heard testimony from more than 100 witnesses, including state and local officials, police officers, businessmen and women, community activists, academics, and ordinary citizens.

The Commission's ca. 500-page typescript "Report for Action," issued in February 1968, was soon published, with illustrations, and widely distributed. The report contains a series of topical chapters ("Political Framework," "Police," Housing," "Employment," "Growth and Problems of the Spanish-Speaking Community," etc.); a chronological/analytical account of the July 1967 Newark riots; and shorter accounts of disturbances in Plainfield and Englewood, NJ. A lengthy final section presents the Commission's recommendations. Appendices are: footnotes (including references to interviews conducted outside the formal hearings), a complete list of testifying witnesses, a list of Exhibits provided to or collected by the Commission, a list of consultants, and the Governor's original charge to the Commission .
Collection Contents
Newark-related material in the collection that is open to researchers includes the following:

Boxes 5a and 5b: Hearings. Transcripts of testimony of witnesses at hearings conducted by the Commission. The testimony is filed by date of hearing, in chronological order. Complete set, first copy. Witnesses included State Police officers, public officials, employees of state agencies, clergy, activists, citizens (some from Newark, some from nearby towns), etc. Among the witnesses were: Hugh Addonizio, Mayor of Newark; Harold J. Ashby, president, Newark Board of Education; Albert Black, Chairman, Newark Human Rights Commission; Brendan T. Byrne, Essex County Prosecutor; George Cannon, Manager, Hayes Homes Project; Janie Carter, Newark housewife; John P. Canfield, Newark Fire Department Director; Robert Curvin; Louis Danzig, Executive Director, Newark Housing Authority; Dickinson R. Debevoise, Trustee, Newark Neighborhood Legal Services; John De Simone, patrolman, Newark Police Department; Bertha Dixon, luncheonette owner, Newark; Rev. Herbert G. Draesel, Episcopal priest, Newark; Louise Epperson, Newark resident; Ruby Evans, Newark resident; Pedro Felix, luncheonette owner, Newark; William Fields, bartender, Newark; Thelma Hargrave, Headstart teacher, Newark; Thomas E. (Tom) Hayden, author, community activist, SDS ERAP Project; Alfred (Al) Henderson, photographer, Newark; Richard J. Hughes, Governor; Joel Jacobson, President, New Jersey Industrial Union Council; Rev. Benjamin F. Johnson, Bethany Baptist Church, Newark; LeRoi Jones [Amiri Baraka], author, Newark; Leo McCallum, member, Nation of Islam [Black Muslims]; Dorothy McClendon, Newark resident; Kenneth C. Melchior, Inspector, Newark Police Department; Willie J. Odom, card and gift shop owner, Newark; David Perez, Executive Director, FOCUS, a Newark organization of Spanish-speaking residents; Robert H. Pitts, pet shop owner, Newark; Vito M. Pontrelli, patrolman, Newark Police Department; George C. Richardson, political activist, Assemblyman; John W. Smith, taxi driver, Newark; Dominick A. Spina, Director, Newark Police department; Timothy Still, President, Board of Trustees, United Community Corporation; Malcolm Talbott, Vice-President, Rutgers-Newark; Franklyn Titus, Superintendent of Schools, Newark; Bow Woo Wang, laundry owner-operator, Newark; Paul N. Ylvisaker, New Jersey Commissioner of Community Affairs

Boxes 6, 7 and 8: contain duplicate copies of the above testimony. The copy in Box 8 is incomplete.

Box 9, contains miscellaneous publications

Box 11: contains a binder holding an original typescript copy of the Commission's "Report for Action" (February 1968)

Box 12: contains a variety of reports and brochures issues by New Jersey and New York state agencies, and other publications. Newark-related items are: "Newark New Jersey Population and Labor Force Characteristics, Spring 1967" (Institute of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University, 1967); "Annual Report, Housing Authority, City of Newark: Statistical Data Pertaining to Public Housing" (1967); "UCC Program Report, 1966-1967" (United Community Corporation, Newark); "Newark's Urban Renewal Program, July 1967" (Division of City Planning and Newark Housing Authority) and a copy of a typescript report, "Chronological Summary of Newark Riots, July 1967, Incomplete" (Newark Police Department, Planning and Research Office [1967]). Two folders contain requests for copies of the Commission's report (Feb 1968).

Also in Box 12 is a binder of copies of Governor Hughes's proclamations, declaring a state of emergency, etc.; his statement of July 16, 1967 at Newark Armory; his address in Miami Beach, FL to an International Longshoremen's Association convention, July 20; his interview on CBS-TV, July 23; his statement of July 28; and an interview published in US News & World Report, July 31, 1967.

Box 13: Exhibits C1-C69 These are listed in the printed report. Exhibits include many state and local police reports, maps of operations, handwritten flyers protesting against police brutality, a petition calling on the City Council to establish a "canine corps," etc.

Box 14: Exhibits, C70-C121. These include C89-C105, documents submitted by the Committee of Concern; materials submitted by the State Police and NJ National Guard; photos; a chart of homicides; and an issue of "Muhammed Speaks."

NOTE: Boxes 1-4, 10, and 15 are restricted. Materials containing any mention of the arrest of minors (individuals 18 or younger) are closed to researchers. Archives staff have separated those materials.
FormatsPhotographic materials; Textual materials
SubjectsAfrican-American History / Civil Rights; Asian-American History; Business / Commerce; Latinx American History; Police / Crime / Law Enforcement; Politics and Government
Time Period20th Century
Access policyOpen for research
Finding AidYes
Finding Aid URL