We Should Have Listened: The 1968 Lilley Commission's New Vision of New Jersey (2007)

We Should Have Listened: The 1968 Lilley Commission's New Vision of New Jersey
October 30, 2007

The Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience presented:

Panel Discussion to Re-Visit The Governor’s Select Commission on Civil Disorders, State of New Jersey, 1967-68

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of New Jersey’s 1967 civil disorders, the Institute presented a special panel discussion on October 30, 2007 at The Newark Museum, a symbolic “reconvening” of the surviving members of the Governor’s Select Commission on Civil Disorders, also called the Lilley Commission, in recognition of the leadership of its chairman Robert Lilley, then the CEO of New Jersey Bell. The program was co-sponsored by the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the New Jersey Department of State, and The Newark Museum.

Created originally in response to the Newark riots of 1967, the Lilley Commission was comprised of civic and corporate leaders who produced a report on Newark’s poverty, race relations, and economic status, concluding with recommendations for change. The truly distinguished panel of citizens and former members of the Governor’s Select Commission on Civil Disorders included: Raymond A. Brown, Vice Chairman, the Honorable John J. Gibbons, Commission member, Sanford M. Jaffe, Executive Director, Robert B. Goldmann, Deputy Director, Jennie D. Brown, Research Associate, and Dr. Julia M. Miller, Research Associate. The panel was moderated by Ronald Smothers, former reporter for The New York Times and currently distinguished professor of journalism at the University of Delaware. The Honorable Nina M. Wells, New Jersey Secretary of State, brought welcoming remarks.

This was an historic opportunity to re-visit the recommendations made in the 1968 Report For Action and the Commission’s vision of reform in many areas of civic life and took an account of the progress that has been made since New Jersey’s and especially Newark’s 1967 “Summer of Discontent.”

This program was being mounted in recognition of the Institute’s 10th anniversary as an important Rutgers University resource for public scholarship and civic discourse in greater Newark.