Newark mayor Ras Baraka, the son of Amina and Amiri, addresses a large gathering after being sworn-in on 1 July 2014. Photograph: Mel Evans/AP
Since his election, Newark has established a civilian police review board, while hiring new cops and putting more on walking beats. It has launched a Street Academy to divert unemployed youth from crime. According to the city, crime is now the lowest since 1967. Last month, Ras Baraka announced plans to grow local employment, supported by the main employers even the Port, long loath to revisiting its ties to the city. An inclusionary zoning rule, requiring large residential projects to set aside 20% of units for low and moderate incomes, with priority to Newarkers, with support from the real-estate industry, is heading toward passage. The final vote was due on 12 July by coincidence, the rebellions 50th anniversary.
The mayors background links Newarks current direction and its activist tradition. But the elders who remember 1967 argue that the history needs formal teaching as well. At Rutgers, Williams is working with the city schools to develop a Newark curriculum for high-school social studies. He hopes to have a trial unit ready for later this year.
You dont want to wallow in it, but you want to connect it with whats happening, says Cammarieri. Understanding why it happened is critical, because it opens up the doors to understanding the continuity in how this country deals with race. The meaning 12 July 1967 and the five days that followed has is what it means to us today.
Recently, Jasmine Mans and friends held an night of spoken poetry titled Newark Riots. It was us acknowledging we felt it, too, Mans says. This could be Ferguson. The pull of a trigger and it could be our city on fire again. The new Newark that were trying to rebuild, this could be killed in a minute.
Newarks progress, with new comforts like a Whole Foods and a boutique hotel, is garnering a kind of chic. Its art scene, a mix of older institutions, longtime local artists, and new arrivals drawn to space and an alternative vibe 30 minutes from Manhattan, is gaining notice. The city earned a jaunty Vogue travel item this year with no reference to racial and political history.
Last winter, Mans took part in an art project, organised in the front windows of a row of commercial buildings along Market Street. Her piece involved short texts in large black letters. One, directly facing passers-by, said 1967: THE RAVISHING.
I didnt want to call it riot, or rebellion, Mans says. I wanted to give dignity to those who fought, to a time of fighting. That impeccable moment of change.
Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to join the discussion, and explore our archive here