Other NJ 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:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_41d1b33591c4aa084ebd_071818sing

Wed, July 18, 3:00 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

Family Movie: Sing

Carousel_image_5bb0b286d22304865652_071918jester

Thu, July 19, 1:00 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

Puppet Show

Carousel_image_f88652328f93e1a92d19_0718_muhlenberg_community_meeting_flyer_new

Thu, July 19, 6:00 PM

Muhlenberg Hospital, Plainfield

Muhlenberg Community Meeting

Union County College Foundation’s 3rd “Close the Gap” Campaign Surpasses Goal

July 17, 2018

CRANFORD – With over 150 guests and volunteers in attendance, the Union County College Foundation surpassed their goal and raised nearly $55,000 at their 3rd Annual Close the Gap Campaign cocktail reception. Held on July 11, in the Richel Student Commons at the College’s Cranford campus, this campaign was developed by a small group of dedicated community volunteers to support the ...

Plainfield BOE Member on Naming of the New School

July 12, 2018

On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 – I, Carmencita Pile, an elected Plainfield School Board member presented this during the Plainfield School Board monthly business meeting to the public and to the board after being recognized by Plainfield School Board President Mr. Richard Wyatt.

On Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 12:10PM an email was sent from the Plainfield School District's Postmaster that ...

Residents Taking Action Against White Supremacist Fliers Found Around Bridgewater, Bedminster, Other Local Areas

July 17, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...

La Guerra contra los Inmigrantes- Cuando es Demasiado?

July 15, 2018

"Primero, vinieron por los comunistas, y yo no hable- por que no era comunista.

Después, vinieron por los sindicalistas, y yo no hable- por que no era sindicalista.

Después, vinieron por los judíos, y yo no hable- por que no era judío. 

Después, vinieron por mí- y no hubo nadie para hablar por mí."

Este dicho por el ...

Mayor Mapp:  El Programa de Verano de los Jóvenes

El lunes, 9 de julio, nuevas caras alumbraran las oficinas de la Alcaldía. Nuestro Programa de Verano de los Jóvenes por fin comienza, y otra vez los empleados tendrán la oportunidad de ser mentores de un nuevo grupo de jóvenes.

El Programa de Verano de los Jóvenes corre por seis semanas todos los años y les da la oportunidad de empleo y experiencia a ...

Featured Business: Studio 15 Young Plainfield Entrepreneurs Expand Business Once More

“What you see behind me is a life-changing project for myself that I have been working on since January 2017, nearly two years, discreetly; not sharing much about it with anybody. I've had plenty of reasons to give up on this truck; I purchased it pretty much from the ground up from Rashine Mobile, another local city entrepreneur. The truck had no steering column, no computer; it ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)

 

If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

The Anatomy of Escape by Mike Blue

The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure by Mike Blue (Available on Amazon)

 

Imagine that you could just say, “Chuck it,” and walk away from the bonds that keep you tied to what Mike Blue, author of The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure, defines as the restrictive Work-Consume-Die cycle. To most of us, becoming what Blue terms “a ...

The Death of Koko the Gorilla

Koko's Kitten, Koko's Story, The Eduction of Koko all by Dr. Francine Patterson

 

Last night when I heard about the death of Koko, the lowland gorilla who was educated to communicate through American Sign Language by Dr. Francine Patterson, I went numb with grief. I have followed the life of Koko, her two gorilla companions, Michael and Ndume, as well as Dr. Patterson for forty ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015)

Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with elegant imagery, and rich in emotional wallop. The book, divided into three sections, ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.