Junius W. Williams oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Newark, New Jersey, 2011-07-20.
Now, see - that was interesting. The police brutality situation - and this is more from my review of the written record about NCUP, as written by some of the organizers. A lot of the organizers felt - not a lot of them, but some of the organizers felt that police brutality was too volatile. Why? Because it was racial; there were white cops beating black heads, and you couldn’t get away from that. And this was something they really didn’t want to deal with, because they couldn’t control the emotion of the people who were affected, and they thought it was going to lead to a riot. So, they said, “Let CORE deal with that.” So, CORE had weekly demonstrations against police brutality, because at that time, people were getting beat up regularly, and some people were being killed.
As a matter of fact, I came to Newark - the first day I came, I was in a demonstration, a CORE demonstration against police brutality, uh, from, because of a, of a black man that was shot by a cop named Hank Martinez. Now, I didn’t know Henry Martinez at that time. I didn’t even associate him with anything other than the fact that he was a cop. Years later, the same Henry Martinez ran for City Council and won from the East Ward, and he and I became friends. I had no idea that was the same man that I was, in my first demonstration, against, on my first day in Newark, probably my first hour in Newark. I had no idea. This was a completely different man. I didn’t see how that man could have shot somebody. And I didn’t - you know how I found out? I found out by doing some research about what was going on, [1:45:00] on that corner on that day. And I have yet to talk to him about that and probably won’t.
JM: Um, um-hmm. How did you judge the, uh [JW clears throat] - of course, what will happen in the summer of ’67 is that the rebellion will suddenly dominate all of, so much of how people think about this history here in the city.
JM: But, um, prior to that point, all this festering tension, police brutality, terrible conditions in housing, underemployment, and, and, and - how did you feel about [JB coughs] your progress, so to speak, against the goal of starting something that would yield results? How did you feel across, say, the first twenty-four months you were here?
JW: Well, when I first came to Newark, I wasn’t here for twenty-four months straight. I was here for the summer.
JM: And then you went to New Haven?