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

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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.

For many years, Newark symbolized for an entire nation the malaise which has plagued urban America,” states Silvio Laccetti. 192 Richard Cammarieri of the New Community Corporation stated that, too often, tax abatements and riverfront development benefited corporate and NEWARK’S SORDID PAST AND EARLY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT POLITICS 35 outside interests more than residents. ”193 Because James focused much of his interest on downtown development, many residents thought his proposals favored large corporations and entertainment venues for suburban residents.

National Black leaders, as well as local leaders like Baraka, advocated more local control in their communities. The conference was supposed to have 400 delegates, but more than 1,000 were present. 128 Certainly Stokley Carmichael and Charles Hamilton’s call for Black Power resonated with Baraka and many Black inner-city Newarkers. 129 Between the convention and the cultural nationalism movement, Baraka’s politics played a significant role in Newark’s local politics. Baraka and other community, even national, activists sparked Black Newarkers to act and take hold of their own political, social, and cultural destiny.

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