By Jonathan L. Wharton (auth.)

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Extra resources for A Post-Racial Change Is Gonna Come: Newark, Cory Booker, and the Transformation of Urban America

Sample text

He felt the best way to highlight the city’s progress was to have entertainment areas in downtown. Subsequently, when the owners of the New Jersey Nets and Devils were considering new locations, James further stressed the importance of revitalizing downtown Newark by having the city and even the state government help construct a new arena for the teams. In fact, during the 2002 mayoral election, Governor James McGreevey endorsed the construction plan by reminding Newarkers that “under the leadership of Sharpe James, we will build an arena for the Nets and Devils.

122 The Barakas’ California trip influenced them a great deal just at the time of Newark’s infamous riots when civil rights groups radicalized their politics. That’s 26 A POST-RACIAL CHANGE IS GONNA COME not to say that the Barakas did not already have their own community organizations, for they were known for the Spirit House arts center, school, and collective kitchen; as well as the Committee for a Unified Newark (CFUN); and, later, the Congress of African People (CAP). 125 In accordance with this belief, Baraka felt Newark had several issues to address in July 1967, especially the following, which were the most pressing: 1.

154 In the center of the school system’s politics were Baraka and Imperiale. They had a contentious past, and they argued about curriculum standards, contracts, and school integration in their Black and Italian communities. 155 Between the racial politics of Baraka and Imperiale and the teachers’ strikes—with teachers often taking positions on either side of the racial divide and even going to jail in some instances—Gibson had a Herculean task. 156 After trying three times to get all parties to negotiate, Gibson finally made some headway.

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