CORRECTION: The MacAdams brothers that fought in the Newark Riots were Joe, Ed, Jeep, and Horace. Also present were Earl Fowler, Paul Fowler, and Gerald Healey, Ralph Richards, the Jacksons brothers, medic Charlie Savage.
William E. Cleary | CNBNewsnet
Today is the 50th Anniversary of the Newark Riots, also known to those
who were there as “The Battle of Newark.” The six-day conflict broke out on July 12, 1967, and ended on July 17, 1967. Soldiers from South Jersey who belonged to the 50th Armored Division,1st Battalion, 114th Infantry Regiment were called early in the morning on July 12 to report to their respective armories either in Woodbury, or Pitman.
Gloucester City, Brooklawn, Audubon, Woodbury along with other communities in the immediate area had a number of residents who belonged to that Regiment that was called that morning. Besides myself, there was Ed Barnett, Billy Carr, Jim Coppola, Ed DiGiacomo, Tom Keebler, Chalie Cloud, The MacAdams brothers (Horace, Ed, Jeep and Joe), Ed McGregor, Sam McQuaid, Earl Fowler, Paul Fowler, Gerald Healey Chalie Tourtual, Sid Vaultier, Don Wilson, Ralph Richards, the Jackson brothers, Charlie Savidge (medic), and Skip Zirbser, to mention a few. (Ed's Note: If you know of anyone else send their names to email@example.com )
The riots began as a crowd of around 200 assembled outside the Fourth Precinct station house to protest the arrest of a cab driver with chants of "police brutality." Rocks and bottles were thrown, and the crowd was eventually dispersed. Yet, that night bands of angry looters caroused through the city, smashing windows (mostly of liquor stores), strewing merchandise in the streets, and pulling fire alarms. At around 4:00 a.m. a looter was shot while trying to flee from two police officers. By early Friday morning, five people had been killed and 425 people were jailed. Hundreds were wounded. More than 3,000 National Guardsmen arrived later in the day along with 500 state troopers. By mid-afternoon, the Guardsmen and the troopers arrived, formed convoys, and were moving throughout the city in deuce and half army trucks and armored personnel carriers.
Over the next five days, we stayed on the streets of Newark trying to keep the
peace. We witness the residents torch and loot their neighborhood stores one block at a time. In between dodging bullets, rocks and bottles we watched in amazement as black business owners wrote “Soul Bros” on their front windows hoping to keep rioters from breaking into their properties. But eventually, the rioters destroyed those stores too, stole the goods and set the places on fire. Some say that after the riots Newark was never the same.
When it was all over the five days of rioting left the city ravaged with $10 million worth of property damage and the loss of 26 lives.
In 2006 Tim Russert, the American television journalist wrote a book, Wisdom of Our Fathers, that contained a collection of letters he received recounting relationships between fathers, sons, and daughters.
One of those published letters mentions retired Army Sergeant Jeep MacAdams, of Brooklawn and The Battle of Newark. That letter came from Rich Sauer, who wrote about his father, Big Ade (Adrian Francis Sauer Jr.) of Haddonfield who served with MacAdams. After World War II, he joined the NJ National Guard and opened a luncheonette on the main street of Haddonfield.
Here is an excerpt of that correspondence.
My father’s second job was serving in the New Jersey National Guard one weekend every month and for two weeks each summer at Camp Drum in Watertown, New York. Dad loved the Guard, but Mom and my brothers resented it because of the time it took from us and the strains it put on the family business.
In the summer of 1967, his Guard unit was sent to Newark, where a riot had erupted and police were having trouble containing it. Dad went without having any idea how dangerous or how long his mission would be. When he returned many days later, he told us that his job was to drive through the fiery city in an open-top Jeep with his M-l Garand and to ferry intelligence from one point to the next. He said there was enough gunfire to keep him on his toes, and that this was the only time in 34 years of military service that he had ever been in combat. That was all he said.
When Big Ade died a few years ago, we had both his memorial service and his wake in a local restaurant. There were old photos of him on display and artifacts from his sports career, Ade's Lunch, and the Army. His favorite Glenn Miller music was playing in the background; The "celebration of life" was scheduled for 1 P.M., with drinks and lunch at noon.
Suddenly, at 10:45, thirty of Big Ade's National Guard comrades came into the room, most of them wearing caps with their unit's number on it. They greeted me as if I were their long-lost son and expressed their sympathies with tremendous warmth and a few tears. I immediately understood why my father treasured his Guard experience and had such love and respect for his buddies.
A clergyman friend of the family, who used to eat in Ade's Lunch when he was a boy, gave a great homily. I somehow made it through the eulogy I had written for my dad without breaking down.
Then, as I made my way around the large room to say thank you, one of Big Ade's old Guard buddies, Sergeant "Jeep" MacAdams, grabbed the sleeve of my suit. Jeep told me that it was my dad who had encouraged him to go into the Guard after World War II, which saved him from driving a cab in Camden for the rest of his life. 'There are so many stories I could tell you about your old man, Richie," Jeep rasped into my ear. "But let me tell you at least this one . . .
"You know we were in Newark during the riots of 'sixty-seven. It was a combat situation, let me tell you. I want you to know what an excellent and brave soldier your old man was. He was a true leader.
"We were called to a building that the state police had their machine guns trained on. They said they needed backup because there were rioters in the building. They told us to help them take this position with tear gas, machine guns, and grenades, whatever.Your dad challenged the state cops from the get-go.
He asked them what made them think there were no innocent civilians inside the position. The state police were zealous, you see. They had already fired shots, and they wanted us to fire warning shots, but your dad asked them to please hold their fire. Then he volunteered to assess the situation. He stayed low and got to the big door of the building, which was locked, and he calmly announced, I'm with the New Jersey National Guard and I'm here to lead you to safety. Everything will be okay. Follow me.'
"Suddenly, about 25 black high school kids came out of the building behind him, shaking and crying. Your dad was comforting them with one hand and giving the 'hold your fire' sign with the other. He asked if they needed water or food. Rich, your dad treated those kids with such respect and kindness. If he hadn't gotten involved, I'm sure there would have been bloodshed, if not death."
This was what I learned for the first time at Big Ade's memorial service. Could I be more proud of him had he won the Congressional Medal of Honor? I don't think so.
— Rich sauer, Ocean City, NJ