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

Man Charged with Crashing Truck into East Orange Planned Parenthood Clinic

February 18, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino and East Orange Public Safety Director Sheliah Coley announced Friday that Marckles Alcius, 31, with a last known address in Lowell, Massachusetts, has been charged with carrying out a truck attack on the Planned Parenthood East Orange Health Clinic on February 14, 2018, using a stolen bakery delivery truck.

Alcius has ...

Mayor Green and the City of East Orange Hosts A Black History Debate

February 19, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Mayor Ted R. Green, East Orange City Council and Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs will host a reenactment of the age-old debate between Booker T. Washington and Dr. W.E.B. DuBois on Thursday February 22, 2018 at the East Orange Campus High School Auditorium.

The debate which pits those in favor of Washington’s philosophy of self-help and racial solidarity ...

Essex County Freeholders Celebrate African-American History Month

February 22, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – At its 2018 African-American History Month Celebration on Wednesday at the Hall of Records in Newark, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders commemorated the heritage, culture, resilience, and spirit of the African-American community.

Brendan Gill, board president and Freeholder At-Large, first acknowledged African-American contributions, both past and present, in ...

Procrastinating About Keeping Up to Date on Your Data Entry

Last time we talked about maintaining good records and saving receipts; this time we’ll focus on why you should not procrastinate on your data entry.

Taxes are on a pay-as-you-go basis. You owe taxes every quarter on your earnings minus your expenses. If you’re not doing your bookkeeping as needed, including reconciliation of accounts and closing out accounts, then you’re ...

Not Saving All Receipts and Keeping Good Records

We talked last time a little bit about overstating income and not counting the deductions that you can. We also talked a bit about receipts. But, it’s so important that we’re going to bring it up again here.

Keeping receipts and keeping good records is an important thing to do for your business because it’s going to make a lot of difference when you look at your financial ...

Cheating Yourself Out of Money

Do you have a system in place for saving relevant receipts for your business? If not, you need to get one. One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is avoiding saving receipts in an organized manner, which forces them to end up not deducting what could be deducted. This can cause you to overstate your business income, and consequently, you’ll end up paying more taxes.

The best ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b07ca45d1f7f7b57e6e4_spring_football

Mon, February 26, 6:00 PM

Lincoln Avenue School Gymnasium , Orange

Football Lovers, the Season Is Not Over: Orange ...

Sports

Carousel_image_b07ca45d1f7f7b57e6e4_spring_football

Thu, March 1, 6:00 PM

Lincoln Avenue School Gymnasium , Orange

Football Lovers, the Season Is Not Over: Orange ...

Sports