5 Days in July revisits the 1967 Newark Riots, an important cataclysmic moment in American history. This civil disturbance began when African American cab driver and musician John W. Smith was arrested, beaten and dragged into Fourth Precinct for a minor traffic infraction. This action triggered rebellion among the African American community that spread throughout Newark. To quell the unrest, government officials mobilized the New Jersey State Police and National Guard.

At the conclusion of the Riots, there were 26 dead and approximately 1,000 injured, 1,500 arrests, and 10 million dollars in property damage. The Newark Riots represents one of the earliest civil disturbances among the more than 160 rebellions that occurred during that long hot summer.

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