Mayor Reed Gusciora and Councilwoman Jennifer Williams Dedicate Temporary Marker
Trenton, N.J. – Mayor Reed Gusciora and North Ward Councilwoman Jennifer Williams dedicated a temporary historic marker at the intersection of East Hanover Street and North Broad Street to commemorate the 1968 Riot, which took place on April 9, 1968, in the wake of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A permanent, cast historical marker will be installed upon completion.
Within her first month of being elected, North Ward Councilwoman Jennifer recommended that the historical marker be installed and collaborated with the Department of Recreation, Natural Resources & Culture, the Department of Public Works, and the Mayor’s Office to design and install the commemorative marker.
The historical marker’s text reads:
“Remembered as the 1968 Riot, protests led to several days of violence, fires and looting, leaving many businesses destroyed, people and first responders injured. Brave citizens stepped forward to quell the crowd, including a young seminary student, Harlan Joseph. At the time, Harlan Bruce Joseph was a 19-year-old Lincoln University divinity student. He ran from his home on Carroll Street to plead for peace and was tragically killed. The efforts to restore calm by S. Howard Woodson and Albert “Bo” Robinson were credited at the time for stemming the rampage to bring about an uneasy peace in a turbulent year.”
Mayor W. Reed Gusciora stated, “This was a significant event in Trenton’s history and it is important that we honor the peacebuilding efforts of Harlan Joseph. When so many places in America want to forget their past, I am proud that the city will commemorative the Civil Rights struggles in our community.”
The financial impact to the downtown from the 1968 Riot was estimated to be $7 million and, once insurance companies dropped business coverage of the area, which prevented rebuilding. In addition to 16 injured policemen, 15 firemen were treated for injuries caused during the 1968 Riot.
North Ward Councilwoman Jennifer Williams affirmed, “Today, we acknowledged the terrible trauma of what happened to our city fifty-five years ago and have publicly made clear that though the 1968 Riot was a tragic event which destroyed downtown - there were brave peacemakers who tried to quell the violence. It is important that we acknowledge this history and what our elders went through, as we move forward to build a new future for Trenton.”