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Newton looks back on 1968 Wilmington riots at Arden event


In the aftermath of the April 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, riots broke out in many U.S cities, including Wilmington.

Tuesday night,  Dr. James Newton, a University of Delaware professor emeritus of Black American Studies will lead a discussion of the riots impact and the social issues that led up to the disturbances.

“In the area that they called the valley there was looting and burning. There were no fatalities, some damage, but other than that there was a restlessness amongst especially the young people in the community in the aftermath of the King assassination that had taken place,” said Newton.

On April 9, 1968, then Gov. Charles Terry ordered the National Guard to patrol the streets of Wilmington and to restore order. He later ordered National Guard troops to be deployed in Rehoboth Beach and at the campus of Delaware State in Dover.

Gov. Terry kept the National Guard in Wilmington for the reminder of 1968.  The troops did not leave until Jan. 1969 when Russell Peterson, who defeated Terry in November election, signed the order pulling the troops out within an hour of his inauguration.

Dr. Newton’s talk will follow the screening of the 2007 documentary film “A Dream Deferred: Remembering the 1968 Occupation” at Lower Gild Hall in Arden Tuesday night.

Newton also served on the U.S Commission on Civil Rights Delaware State Advisory committee