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Identifier: RG N7/G3/03

Rutgers University Newark Vice President (Malcolm Talbott): Committee of Concern Records


  • 1960-1971, bulk 1967-1968

Scope and Content Note

The Committee Files, series contains the files for the individual committees and subcommittees as well as folders containing administrative information pertaining to the organization as a whole such as membership lists and organizational charts. The papers for a given committee or subcommittee typically contain minutes of meetings, agenda, and correspondence of the committee. Frequently, there are reports or newspaper clippings relevant to the topic of the committee.

The Subject Files series contains material that was not generated by the Committee of Concern, including material that details conferences and programs in which the Committee of Concern participated as well as information and reports collected by it.

General Correspondence Files contains the correspondence not associated with any particular committee or subcommittee. It includes letters to the Committee of Concern and carbon copies of letters sent which were typically sent over the signature of co-chairman Talbott. Although much of the correspondence is routine in nature, thanking donors for contributions and alerting members to upcoming meetings, some is more significant and provides a snapshot of the types of community organizations that were active in Newark at the time.


3.75 Cubic Feet (11 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

The records of the Committee of Concern were transferred to Special Collections and University Archives together with the papers of Malcolm D. Talbott.


The Committee of Concern was formed in 1967 in response to riots that took place in Newark, New Jersey. Its aim was to determine the causes for the riots and to formulate possible social and economic improvements. The collection consists primarily of minutes of meetings, correspondence, reports, newspaper clippings, and related materials.

<emph render="bold">Administrative History</emph>

From July 12 to July 17, 1967, the city of Newark, New Jersey, was wrecked by racial violence. In six days of rioting, 23 people were killed, 725 were injured and nearly 1,500 were arrested. Property damage was estimated at over $10 million. While the riots were still in progress, sixty community leaders formed a Committee of Concern with the following aims: to help restore calm to the city, to study the causes of racial unrest, and to formulate goals for social and economic improvements that would address those causes.

The group elected as co-chairmen Malcolm D. Talbott and Oliver Lofton. Talbott, who was white and a former professor of law and dean at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, was, at the time, the vice president of Rutgers in charge of its Newark campus. Lofton, an African-American lawyer, was the administrative director of the Newark Legal Services Project. Other officers elected included Marion Kidd, a welfare recipient, as secretary, and Theron L. Marsh, executive vice president of the National Newark & Essex Bank, as treasurer. The Committee of Concern quickly grew to include 600 members from all walks of life. New Jersey's governor, Richard J. Hughes, authorized it to investigate the causes of the riots.

The Committee of Concern comprised twenty-six committees and subcommittees. Although several committees, such as the Banking and Finance Committee, were purely administrative, most committees focused on what were perceived to be major problems in Newark. Lack of proper housing, unemployment, inadequate education, and police harassment of non-white citizens were among the issues the committees addressed.

The proposed construction of a medical school and hospital complex on 150 acres in the heart of Newark's black community threatened to displace many residents and was a central concern in the community at the time of the riots. Thus, the Housing Committee focused on issues of urban renewal, while the Medical School Committee dealt with issues relating to the size and location of that facility.

Several committees were devoted to the problems of education: The Higher Education Committee concerned itself with the problems encountered by non-white youths who wanted post-secondary education, including discriminatory admissions policies and curricula. The Newark Pre-School Council Committee covered educational issues relating to children who had not yet entered the public school system. The Education Committee, which merged with the Newark Committee for Better Public Education, strove to improve both the school buildings and the curriculum for public school students.

With regard to employment, or lack thereof, several agencies were already operating in Newark. So as not to duplicate functions, two of the Committee of Concern committees merged with existing organizations: the Employment Committee with the Business and Industrial Coordinating Council (BICC), and the Economic Development Committee with the Interracial Council for Business Opportunity in New Jersey (ICBO).

Although the Committee of Concern's aim was to provide a forum for public discussion and a theoretical groundwork for improvement rather than to provide direct aid to citizens, it accomplished several things that had a lasting impact on life in Newark: It aided many of the 1,500 people who were arrested during the riots by helping to get bails reduced to reasonable levels and monitoring grand jury proceedings. It encouraged the hiring of African-Americans and Latinos as police officers, helping to arrange training for the police academy examination. It organized classes for disadvantaged Newark residents who wished to obtain the skills necessary for operating a small business. It encouraged the implementation of school reforms designed to assist inner city children. Finally,it assisted in the formation of the Newark Arts Council, an organization that continues to promote Newark's artistic and cultural resources.

The Committee of Concern was most active from July, 1967, through 1968, a period of one and a half years. By late 1968, the executive committee was no longer meeting regularly, and by 1969, most of the other committees were inactive, the exceptions being those concerned with education and culture. By late 1970, the Committee of Concern was completely inactive. During Newark's fiscal crisis of 1971, there was a failed attempt to revive the Committee of Concern.

Arrangement Note

The records of the Committee of Concern are arranged in the following three series:

  1. I. Committee Files, 1967-1971
  2. II. Subject Files, 1966-1970
  3. III. General Correspondence Files, 1967-1970

The folders in the Committee Files and Subject Files series are arranged alphabetically. The General Correspondence folders are arranged chronologically. The material within each folder is in reverse chronological order. Newspaper clippings have been photocopied and the originals removed.

Related Material

Records pertaining to the Committee of Concern's co-chairman Malcolm D. Talbott are located in Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers and include Inventory to the Records of the Rutgers University Office of the President (Mason Welch Gross), 1936, 1945-1971and Inventory to the Records of the Rutgers University Vice Provost and Dean of the University (Albert E. Meder), 1917-1968.

Rutgers University-Newark. Vice President (Malcolm Talbott). Records of the Committee of Concern, 1960-1971 RG N7/G3/03
Edited Full Draft
Barbara H. Ryan
May 2007
Language of description note
Finding Aid is written in English.

Part of the Rutgers University Archives Repository

Rutgers University Libraries
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
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New Brunswick NJ 08901-1163
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