Essex County News

Son of only Newark firefighter killed in 1967 riots remembers tragedy

e99a4baf059771f747bd_Newark_Fire_Department-Engine_11-Captain_Michael_F._Moran_NFD.jpg
Newark Fire Department Capt. Michael F. Moran, Sr., (far right) the only firefighter who died in the 1967 riots.
e99a4baf059771f747bd_Newark_Fire_Department-Engine_11-Captain_Michael_F._Moran_NFD.jpg

Part 2 of a series on the 50th Anniversary of the Newark riots

The sound of fire engines screaming through Newark’s streets during the July 1967 riots is a memory that cuts especially deep for Michael F. Moran, Jr.

His father, Michael F. Moran, Sr., was the sole Newark firefighter who died in the line of duty during the unrest. He was shot and killed while battling a blaze on Central Avenue, close to his firehouse.

Sign Up for E-News

Moran, a Marine Corps veteran and the father of seven, was 41 years old. His namesake son, his oldest child, was 15.

To mark the 50th Anniversary of the Newark riots, TAPinto Newark has written a four-part series looking at the incidents riot and its impact on the city.

Part 1: Witnesses to history reflect on Newark riots 50 years later

“What happened left my family and the city with an emotional scar,” said Moran, Jr. “It’s part of my family and part of my life. It’s part of who we all are who went through it.”

Rumors ignited the flames that devoured Newark. New Jersey’s largest city exploded on July 12, 1967 when speculation incorrectly spread that John W. Smith, an African-American cab driver, was dead after being arrested, beaten and dragged inside what was then the 4th Precinct in the city’s Central Ward.  

Rumors of snipers firing from rooftops, often confirmed by the authorities in the chaos, also became part of the communal history of the upheaval, including what happened to Moran.

“The people in Newark have to choose sides,” said then-New Jersey Gov. Richard J. Hughes during the conflagration. “They are either citizens of America or criminals who would shoot down a fire captain in the back and then depend on people to speak in platitudes about police brutality.”

Many people at the time asserted that snipers shot Moran. Others claim stray bullets fired by law enforcement or the National Guard were the more likely culprit. Moran, Jr., now an attorney, noted the confusion of the times and a perceived lack of communication among the various armed forces in the streets.

But 50 years later, he doesn't seek a final answer about how his father died.

“I don’t really want to know,” Moran said. “The result was that my father died in the line of duty. The rest just doesn’t make any sense, and it doesn’t make any difference. You move on and do the best with your life to be happy.”

Moran’s neighbors in the then-predominantly Irish Vailsburg section of Newark embraced his family in its time of crisis. Residents raised funds and checked in at the family’s Eastern Parkway home. Catholic parish priests from Sacred Heart Church offered solace.

Better memories started to salve psychic wounds. Moran remembered his father moonlighting as a carpenter to support his large family, yet still making time for his children.

“When you’re a kid, it’s hard to appreciate the stresses my father was under – a large family, multiple jobs, plus fighting fires,” Moran said. “As I got older, I valued how he sacrificed for us even more.”

His mother, pregnant at the time of her husband’s death, gave birth to their youngest child, a daughter, giving joy in the midst of grief.

“My mother was our living hero,” Moran said. “She gave us the foundation to keep going.”

The Moran family kept living in Newark for another decade after their firefighter father’s death. They kept Newark in their hearts after leaving the city for Livingston and still wish the best for its people. Their memories, tempered by tragedy, are not tinged with bitterness. Instead, there is acceptance, even forgiveness.

“Anger was never a part of our upbringing, and our parents taught us to make our own judgments,” Moran said. “I don’t associate what happened to my father with writing off Newark. The whole story has yet to be told.”

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

East Orange/Orange

Adults Step Up and Speak Out to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse

April 18, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ — The East Orange YMCA is marking National Child Abuse Prevention Month with Five Days of Action, April 16-20. Leading up to Healthy Kids Day, a national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids, Five Days of Action raises awareness on how adults can step up and speak out to prevent child sexual abuse.

“By encouraging adults to step up and speak out, ...

COMMUNITY COMES OUT IN RECORD NUMBERS FOR EAST ORANGE EARTH DAY CITYWIDE CLEAN UP

April 24, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ, - East Orange Mayor Ted Green and the East Orange City Council, along with over 500 volunteers, took to the streets to clean up targeted neighborhoods throughout East Orange during the Earth Day Citywide Clean-Up on Sat, April 21, 2018. The event was coordinated under the direction of the Department of Public Works.

Approximately 40 teams comprised of employees, residents, ...

Essex County Announces Partnership with Nine Local Charitable Organizations

April 16, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Essex County will participating in nine special partnerships to increase awareness about and help raise funds for the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, the Arc of Essex County, the New Jersey Children Alliance, Stop for Nikhil, The Valerie Fund, the Arthritis Foundation, the Saint Barnabas Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and ...

Demonstrating Your Results

Last time we talked about selling yourself without losing your soul, and mentioned that it really all comes from results. If the results you deliver match your marketing, and your marketing efforts reach your ideal audience, people will be happy with you and your products or services.

One way to stress the value of your product or service is to focus on the results your clients obtain from ...

Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul

As a business owner, you are automatically in sales - regardless of what type of business you are in. Most of us think of sales as something that is uncomfortable and even icky. There are numerous derogatory jokes about the so-called "used-car salesman". We often get mad with sales people who ring our doorbells, we hang up on sales calls, and we even block ads on our internet ...

Keeping it Professional in Person and Online

When you want to attract quality clients, it’s imperative to be consistent in the way you deal with people -whether it’s in person or online. You need to use professional words, have a professional attitude, and act in a professional manner.

Social Media

It can be hard to remember, but even when you’re on your personal Facebook page, something you say there can end up ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_2d432cc950f356da2c6b_f60eae2b69ee186ab2c9_f5f3362648b4a25a99d4_screen_shot_2018-04-22_at_1.02.36_pm

Sat, April 28, 3:00 PM

Abraham Clark High School - Auditorium, Roselle

Roselle's First Circle of Sisters Expo Community ...

Go Red for Women Luncheon Inspires Heart Health in Northern New Jersey

April 23, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — In support of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Go Red for Women campaign, a lifesaving movement that raises funding for cutting-edge research focused on cardiovascular health and celebrates women’s ability to inspire others to fight heart disease and stroke, hundreds of women attended April’s ninth annual Northern New Jersey Go Red luncheon at ...