History-- 1960s and Richard Hughes
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Once elected, Hughes demonstrated concern for addressing long-deferred state problems, a contrast from the frugal policies of Governor Meyner resisting new spending. In his two terms as governor, Hughes increased funding for services for the handicapped, improved education and created the state's county college system.
-- 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City
In 1964, Atlantic City served as the site of the Democratic National Convention, a selection which state and local leaders had hoped would gain national attention to renew interest in the resort. The attention, however, became largely negative as the deterioration of the City's hotels and other amenities was highlighted in reports by attendees and the media.
--1965 election, Genovese controversy and Vietnam War Protests
Hughes stood for re-election in 1965. Rather than a referendum on state tax and fiscal policies, the focus of the campaign unexpectedly turned to the national controversy created after a Rutgers faculty member, Eugene Genovese, said at a teach-in on the Vietnam War that he did not "fear or regret the impending Viet Cong victory in Vietnam." Despite pressure, Rutgers President Mason Gross refused to dismiss him and the Governor rejected demands by his Republican opponent, state Senator Wayne Dumont, to intervene to force Esposito's firing. In November, Hughes was re-elected to a second term by 350,000 votes.
Later in the 60's and into the following decade, however, Genovese's anti-war views would become more widely accepted. In September 1970, Rutgers students occupied the Old Queens building housing the central administrative offices for the university's president and other top officials in a two-day protest against the War. In August 1971, 28 anti-war protesters were arrested for breaking into selective service offices in Camden and destroying draft records. The 28 people, called “the Camden 28,” was comprised of four Catholic priests (including Daniel and Philip Berrigan), a Lutheran priest, and 23 Catholic laypeople. After a trial of three and a half months which received national media coverage, the jury found the defendants not guilty--the first complete legal victory for the anti-war movement.
-- Newark riots
Three weeks after the global focus on New Jersey during the Glassboro Summit, the state received more unwelcome attention with the outbreak of the Newark riots. The disturbances began on July 13 when two white Newark policemen arrested a black cabdriver for improperly passing them, with later unsubstantiated rumors that while in police custody the driver had been beaten and killed.
Crowds began to destroy property and attack the police, with Governor Hughes responding to Newark Mayor Hugh Addonizio's request for assistance by dispatching the National Guard to the city. By the sixth day of riots and looting, 24 civilians and police officer and firefighter had been killed, along with destruction of many stores and other buildings in the central business district. The violence began to subside after the governor and other state officials eased their initial harsh tactics in confronting the situation and reached out to black ministers and other community leaders to begin a dialogue on the causes of the protests. After the Newark riots began, similar disorders broke out in Plainfield for three days, again leading to mobilization of the National Guard by the Governor. One police officer was killed by a mob after he shot a young black man.
Later in the month, the Newark and Plainfield riots were followed by even more extensive violence in Detroit, which again led to a national debate over race relations. Subsequent federal and state investigations concluded that widespread resentment toward discrimination and the lack of political representation were major factors in sparking the violence. As the report of the The Natonal Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (popularly known as the "Kerner Commission"), appointed by President Johnson to assess the disorders around the country, put it: “Our nation Is moving toward two societies, one black, one White—separate and unequal”