Newark: Torch in a Tinderbox

Before Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, much of Newark's Central Ward was a tinderbox waiting for the torch —and in the incendiary aftermath of the assassination, dozens of blazes were set by arsonists. They might have done much worse damage, except that — in contrast with last summer — black slum dwellers raced to help firemen, not hin der them. The major reason was that black militants such as Playwright Le-Roi Jones had reached a grudging armistice with the city's white authorities (TIME, April 26) and passed the word down to the streets: Cool it.

Last week that racial refrigeration...