Plainfield riots - 1967
RON RUSSO

South Plainfield, NJ

#64 Aug 14, 2013
I TOO WAS 9 AT THAT TIME AND I WAS THE ONLY WHITE KID IN MY 4TH GRADE CLASS. IT WAS A SUMMER NIGHT THAT I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER. WE WERE RETURNING FROM THE MOVIES AND WE SAW THE PARKING LOT OF OUR CHURCH, ST. MARY'S ON FIRE. WE GOT TO THE END OF OUR STREET AND WERE MET BY THE NATIONAL GAURD THAT TOLD US WE COULD GO DOWN OUR STREET BUT AT OUR OWN RISK. WE DROVE DOWN THE STREET WITH OUR LIGHTS OFF AND RAN INTO OUR HOUSE AND YES WE SLEPT ON THE FLOOR TO THE SOUND OF GUN FIRE ALL NIGHT. IN THE MORNING WE WATCH ON THE NEWS AS THEY HIGHLIGHED A AREA OF ROITING AND WE WERE RIGHT IN THE CENTER OF IT. WE DID LEAVE THAT MORNING AND MOVED OUT FROM THE HOUSE I WAS BORN IN SEVERAL YEARS LATER
rmcwj wrote:
I was nine years-old at the time of the riots in Plainfield. The most frightening events for me were seeing the National Guard in their tanks traveling the streets and scrambling under my bed when bullets hit my bedroom window.
The 1967 riots forever changed the demographics of the "Queen City", which has never been able to recover educationally, socially, economically, politically, etc.
Seven years ago I relocated to another state. However, I keep abreast of its current status via the online newspaper and friends. Honestly, I am appalled and disappointed regarding the present status of my hometown.
God help Plainfield, NJ!
Elizabeth Faraone

Howell, MI

#65 Oct 5, 2013
The Plainfield police were not permitted to enter the area of upheaval. If they had been permitted to enter, it would have been a bloodbath. Fortunately, to their chagrin, they were prevented from adding insult to what they had already injured.
Every policeman on the beat in Plainfield was a racist, unfortunately. When we look at the history of racism in the US, many white children deny that their parents were a part of that racism, when they, in fact, were racists. I have seen many white people deny that racism against black people existed, meanwhile I REMEMBER and OTHERS REMEMBER the specific racism exhibited by them and their parents. For example, Mrs. Pellegrino called my younger sister (we have white skin, but we don't have racist hearts) a "n**ger lover" in the mid 1970s when she had an innocent childhood romance with a little boy who was black.
It is ON RECORD that the Plainfield police were clamoring to wreak havoc where the upheaval was occurring. They desired to continue what Gleason had started when he chased a looter and shot him. The brutal attack on Gleason occurred after Gleason shot the looter. The attack was motivated by Gleason's own brutality. I do not condone either incidences of violence.
No doubt, Elizabeth Gleason, who was only a child when her father was beaten beyond recognition, would have wanted the Plainfield police to invade the area, with revenge in their hearts, retaliating with great force and violence.
Does anyone know what happened to the looter who was shot? No. But everyone knows what happened to Gleason because of white racism. At the time of the upheavel, the newspapers were fed misinformation from the police and Gleason's family. Many different stories were told about what went down before Gleason was attacked.
Gleason's attackers were repeating the brutal behavior of police officers that they had witnessed in their pasts. A behavior that the police would continue to exhibit in black poverty stricken areas throughout the 1970s.
So it's time to tell the truth and shame the devil. Racism is alive and well on this forum.
Elizabeth Faraone

Howell, MI

#66 Oct 5, 2013
"If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected -- those, precisely, who need the law's protection most -- and listens to their testimony." - James Baldwin, No Name in the Street

The author of the Nation article entitled "Riot and Reunion: Forty Years Later", Peter Dreier, did just this. He reported the witness account of Maurrie Brown.
Wayne

Wilmington, NC

#67 Nov 29, 2013
Elizabeth you make statements and claims of the mindset of people from an event 46 years ago. You provide no evidence. If this were a court of law a somewhat competent lawyer would discredit you in 60 seconds.
You are being a little hard on Mrs Pellegrino aren't you It was an angry and bitter time for everyone. The city has been on a downward spiral ever since the riots. Everyone with resources left Plainfield. White and Black.
There nothing like listening to the self portrayed, morally superior whites claim they treated the blacks fairly and righteously. I remember the those whites who marched, went to demonstrations and civil rights rallies chanting "SAY IT LOUD I'M BLACK AND I'M PROUD". Then when the first black families moved into their neighborhood they were the first ones to put a for sale sign on their property.
There were 2 philosophies being presented by the predominant black leaders. There was MLK and civil disobedience and there were a number of militant voice striving for violence and aggression. The militant voices resonated and won out in 1967. The results speak for themselves. If you want stats read "The Consequences of the 1960's Race Riots come into view." Virginia Postrel, Dec 30, 2004, African American Org.
Elizabeth when did you leave? Shame the devil? The hypocrites are alive and well on this forum.
Elizabeth Faraone

Indianapolis, IN

#68 Jan 20, 2014
What is your full name? You were a reporter and a racist one at that, insinuating that "we [white Americans] were at war" with "the blacks." Please give me your full name so that I can look up any misreportings you made in the local newspapers.
Elizabeth Faraone

Indianapolis, IN

#69 Jan 20, 2014
Michael, please ask those who you know who were witnesses or were involved in the 1967 uprising in Plainfield to contribute to the page I created for authentic witnesses to tell their stories: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3435804091105...
Elizabeth Faraone

Indianapolis, IN

#70 Jan 20, 2014
There were much more than two philosophies. And Martin Luther King was extremely radical. He was NEVER a moderate. Non-violence does not mean moderate - in fact, non-violence is a radical position, in this age of war mongering. He vehemently opposed the Vietnam war and as he was beginning his struggle to fight for the rights of the poverty stricken, he was assassinated by the US government.

My family never fled Plainfield and my father died eight years ago in our Dixie Lane home. We moved in one year AFTER the riots because my mother didn't want her six daughters to grow up to be racists and we all attended the public schools and graduated from Plainfield High School. My mother was an authentic civil rights activist on Long Island, fighting for, among many things, fair housing, early head start and the civil rights of migrant workers. We had bomb threats on our home made by angry, white people.

As for me - I left Plainfield to attend college at Rutgers University in New Brunswick where I studied African American History, Women's History, Art History and Psychology and was a research assistant for one of the psychology professors. After college, I moved to New York City, a very vibrant and intellectually stimulating place to live and I lived at 101st St. on the East Side of Manhattan and in Prospect Heights and Bed Stuy in Brooklyn. I moved back to Plainfield in 2005 and am living walking distance to the Plainfield Public Library, where there is information about the uprising in 1967 that contradicts the right wing sentiments expressed here on this thread and in the local newspapers in 1967.

I want to correct an error I made in my above statement about Gleason chasing a looter. There is no evidence that who Gleason shot was a looter.
Michael

Torrance, CA

#71 Mar 3, 2014
Thomas wrote:
I was a reporter in 1967 and covered the Plainfield riots. Besides killing John Gleason, the blacks ambushed and shot and killed another officer and wounded a second. We were at war in those days, and not the one in Vietnam.
What agenda are you trying to push??? Are you a congenital liar or simply a blatant liar? What you stated NEVER happened. Why are you trying to fuel an already volatile and sad part of our past? I sincerely hope that you receive your full measure in you life. You're disgusting and WILL be exposed.
Jim T

Brooklyn, NY

#72 Mar 31, 2014
I believe you are thinking of Federated Electronics or Music, i cant remember exactly. they sold radios and TVs also.
Vit wrote:
<quoted text>
There was another music store across the street from the beautiful Paramount Movie Theater. It specialized in sheet music. I forget the name. They had stacks and stacks of sheet music.
Elizabeth Gleason LaTorre

Paterson, NJ

#73 May 18, 2014
I Find it S0 funny that you have no one here on the forum is in support with your distorted view of the events...The article by the Journal of Urban History and by Peter Dreier are completely false and BS...Go look at the newspapers for a change and find out why that man was shot. And why was he CONVICTED on the assault of my father..Because he was guilty of something? Officer Gleason was well liked in the black community..That was in the newspapers if you ever read them. I can not speak of other cops only my father. He did his job bravely and well. He is a HERO and nothing you can say can change that.. You got kicked off one of the FB Plainfield sites so you had to start trouble elsewhere. I feel sorry for you
Elizabeth Faraone wrote:
The Plainfield police were not permitted to enter the area of upheaval. If they had been permitted to enter, it would have been a bloodbath. Fortunately, to their chagrin, they were prevented from adding insult to what they had already injured.
Every policeman on the beat in Plainfield was a racist, unfortunately. When we look at the history of racism in the US, many white children deny that their parents were a part of that racism, when they, in fact, were racists. I have seen many white people deny that racism against black people existed, meanwhile I REMEMBER and OTHERS REMEMBER the specific racism exhibited by them and their parents. For example, Mrs. Pellegrino called my younger sister (we have white skin, but we don't have racist hearts) a "n**ger lover" in the mid 1970s when she had an innocent childhood romance with a little boy who was black.
It is ON RECORD that the Plainfield police were clamoring to wreak havoc where the upheaval was occurring. They desired to continue what Gleason had started when he chased a looter and shot him. The brutal attack on Gleason occurred after Gleason shot the looter. The attack was motivated by Gleason's own brutality. I do not condone either incidences of violence.
No doubt, Elizabeth Gleason, who was only a child when her father was beaten beyond recognition, would have wanted the Plainfield police to invade the area, with revenge in their hearts, retaliating with great force and violence.
Does anyone know what happened to the looter who was shot? No. But everyone knows what happened to Gleason because of white racism. At the time of the upheavel, the newspapers were fed misinformation from the police and Gleason's family. Many different stories were told about what went down before Gleason was attacked.
Gleason's attackers were repeating the brutal behavior of police officers that they had witnessed in their pasts. A behavior that the police would continue to exhibit in black poverty stricken areas throughout the 1970s.
So it's time to tell the truth and shame the devil. Racism is alive and well on this forum.
Elizabeth Gleason LaTorre

Paterson, NJ

#74 May 18, 2014
Everyone who was there thinks those publications are bullshit;..Many lies. You are the racist one here...I cannot stop the stupid lies about my father and have let it go because I know the truth and so does the ones who were there.. You are nothing but a sad trouble maker that got kicked off the FB I grew up in Plainfield site Look back at the forum and you will see NO ONE Agrees with Pete...HAHA BYE. Get a life.
Elizabeth Faraone wrote:
"If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected -- those, precisely, who need the law's protection most -- and listens to their testimony." - James Baldwin, No Name in the Street
The author of the Nation article entitled "Riot and Reunion: Forty Years Later", Peter Dreier, did just this. He reported the witness account of Maurrie Brown.
bruce barrett

Bronx, NY

#76 May 18, 2014
Elizabeth Faraone knows nothing of that day in july of 67. She was a infant at the time and feeds off newspaper articles of her choice. She's anti police and on a witch hunt to denounce officer Gleason, Believe nothing she writes. Shes' a sick woman.
Elizabeth Gleason LaTorre

Paterson, NJ

#77 May 18, 2014
Now that is a FACT Bruce...Let Officer John Gleason RIP . He deserves nothing less. Let us end the attack on him once and for all
bruce barrett wrote:
Elizabeth Faraone knows nothing of that day in july of 67. She was a infant at the time and feeds off newspaper articles of her choice. She's anti police and on a witch hunt to denounce officer Gleason, Believe nothing she writes. Shes' a sick woman.
Elizabeth Gleason LaTorre

Paterson, NJ

#78 May 18, 2014
Ok This is my one thread and don't plan on revisiting this....It seems certain people enjoy keeping racism and hatred alive and continue to perpetuate lies.. Certain publications were published 40 yrs after the riot and are full of lies..If you want the truth go back to the numerous newspaper articles and they are accurate...My dad was a good man. He was a simple man. Didn't socialize too much with co workers he spent all his time with us..He was well respected and valued member of the police dept and had a good relationship with the black community after doing my own research..He knew full well the danger leaving the house that day but did so bravely and preformed his job well. He started nothing..Trouble brewing for a few days before..He did not deserve what happened to him. He worked 2 jobs to support us.. Was a very happy man and proud of what he did..Many people reached out to me over the years and have said how much he helped them..He liked to help kids and steer them on the right path...He had a wife and 3 daughters..He just had a baby girl at the time and was surprised that everyone at his jobs were not as thrilled as he was...(haha) I cannot attest for all the members of the dept but I believe they did a good job keeping the riot from getting even worse..I am not ignorant to racism and I know there were episodes of police brutality in that era of time and the black community had their complaints and they had to be addressed but to incite riot is and was not the right way of going about it..It was wrong and did nothing to help Plainfield and I believe never truly recovered.. He loved the town of Plainfield as well as us..It was our town too..Officer John V Gleason JR died for your town and is a hero that deserves respect. None of my sisters want to bother getting involved in this stupidity but I am very outspoken, maybe too much but I will defend his name..Let him rest in peace...
A moment of clarity

Kearny, NJ

#79 Jul 28, 2014
I just happened to stumble onto this thread and felt compelled to explain my moment of clarity caused by this story... I had no idea about any of the history involved with the correlation of the incident at White Star Diner and the Riots of 67 as I was 4 in a very tough love type Italian family living near the corner of 7th & Clinton when the riots occurred and remember only that my oldest brother whom was 14 at the time was jumped and I remember my father leaving to get him amidst this eerie sense of doom that encapsulated the moment after receiving a phone call from a phone booth however from where he called I don't remember.
My father came home with him slightly roughed up but ok as he was a tough kid (we all were) but I don't remember much else about what happened other than the news at the time reporting on tanks rolling down nearby streets and was it Wilt Chamberlin coming to help quell tempers in town until fast forward I was 5 and then I recall that every Saturday night (and I mean Every Saturday night without fail) my family minus my oldest brother who would have been 15 then would go to Two Guys up in Watchung and on the way home we would stop for dinner at White Star Diner on Front Street in Plainfield. And I never knew why.
My memory was that back then the place would be filled with Colored people as that is what we called Black people back then, not Blacks... There we were my father, mother and 4 little Italian kids ranging in age from 5 to 8 surrounded by colored people and I never understood why we went there when we could have went anywhere. Usually my father would be greeted cheerfully & wholeheartedly certainly by the people who worked there at least but usually by most of the patrons and it never seemed strange & I never felt out of place. Patrons would scooch together occupying the vacant seats between them to make room for us or we would all just sit wherever possible into whatever seats were open. This being the year of 1968 a year after the riots and the year MLK was murdered and it was if we belonged there and we all felt completely safe. This Saturday evening outing continued until 1974 when while pushing his broken down car my father suffered an aortic trauma and died some 10 days later.
My big gentle but tough dad, a proud small business owner and one of the most loved people in town had survived being shot down over Germany and a subsequent 13 months in a German POW camp only to suffer death at the hands of a broken down car. I have not been back to White Star since 74 and am curious as to whether anybody remembers what would seem now to be this spectacle of an out of place white family certainly out of their element in this all Black little Greasy Spoon White Star however as I mentioned before at the time it felt perfectly normal for me.
Fast forward to today, my memories about White Star are pretty extensive and include seeing the price of the “21 shrimp in a basket” rise over the 9 years we frequented the place and lots of other useless things like that. But the best memories are those of a sense of being welcome there. In retrospect I would like to believe that my Fathers grand plan was maybe something much more admirable than it really was, possibly his own way of dealing with the segregation and chaos of the times… An effort to integrate us and assure we did not grow up to be Racists. Whatever his true motives were I’ll never know however I learned from him and the White Star Diner at a very early age that the only real difference between Black and White People is a matter of skin pigment.
And now I know why…
Mary Beth Rinaldi Polito

Flemington, NJ

#80 Aug 1, 2014
I remember the riots, it did not effect just those in Plainfield. My father was a fireman for No. Plainfield, they had to back up the Plainfield Fire Department. This was the worst time for us, not knowing if he was going to be shot at also. There was not justification on either side. It should have not happened. Plainfield became as my parents said a ghost town for a long time, no more bus trips with our baby sitter, no more going to the Strand, no more feeling safe going to Bamberger's or Tepper's. I remember my neighbor just got a brand new white car, and was a teacher on the West End of Plainfield. It was not a bunch of whites that through orange soda on her car, it was the African-American parents of students she loved to teach. I remember going to Greenbrook Park, my parents never took us there or let us go there on our own. One of the most heart wrenching, when the candy store on Front Street near Clinton that was owned by a sweet older couple got hit also. they never did anything wrong to anyone, no matter what color. Why, why was it necessary for our innocence had to be changed because of something that could have been handled level headedly, and as human beings.
Jim T

Brooklyn, NY

#81 Aug 25, 2014
GOODCHECK wrote:
Mucks music shop ------madison ave near wolfs used furniture
I believe VIT is talking about Federated Electronics, but I also remember Mucks very fondly. My parents bought me my used clarinet and reeds from there. I also went to school with his daughter (i think), Valerie Muck.
Gary K

Highland Mills, NY

#82 Apr 27, 2015
Many great recollections of growing up in Plainfield. One's perspective of that depends upon who you were, where you lived and what you did. I was assaulted a few times in the area of old PHS by guys looking for money and some kicks. I was an intern in the police department for a couple of years. I was on the Rescue Squad for some years. I have my opinions. How anyone judges Plainfield is likely based on your socio-economic situation.

By the way, Pete Dreier and his whole family were quality people and a privilege to have known.

Since: Apr 15

Location hidden

#83 Apr 30, 2015
So sad
sshipley

Saint Augustine, FL

#84 May 17, 2015
Hubbard Grad wrote:
That was Perry & Buzeck. Not sure when but around the same time.
Officer Buzeck died years later, while working to patrol the parking lot during bingo at St. Mary's Church. It had zero/nothing to do with the riots.
http://www.odmp.org/officer/2450-patrolman-fr...

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