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College to host exhibit highlighting 1974 Puerto Rican riots

By: Andrew Mees, Director of College and Athletics Communications           

Bloomfield College will help take patrons inside one of Essex County’s forgotten historical events this summer, as the institution’s history division will open the educational art exhibit “Newark 1974: Remembering the Puerto Rican Riots” on the school’s campus grounds.

A history of the riots in text and photos, the exhibit will debut with a special ceremony in the Shelby Art Room of the Bloomfield College Library, located at the corner of Liberty Street and Oakland Avenue, on April 28 at 4 p.m.

Made possible by grant funding from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, the display will help educate the surrounding community on an overlooked piece of the city’s rich history on its 40th anniversary. Curated by Bloomfield College students, the exhibit will showcase never-before-exhibited press photos of the riots from local publications such as the Newark Star-Ledger.

The inauguration on April 28 will feature remarks by Rutgers University Professor of History and Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies Aldo Lauria-Santiago, and Project Archivist of the Puerto Rican Community Archives at the Newark Public Library Yesenia Lopez, helping to kick off the four-month initiative with thoughts on the events from local educators and activists.

"Most people have heard about the massive uprising that took place in Newark in 1967, but very few have heard about the riots that took place in Newark's Puerto Rican community just seven years later,” Bloomfield assistant professor of history and exhibit director Michelle Chase said of the work. “The Puerto Rican riots of 1974 make us question to what extent Newark had been able to address the underlying causes of the 1967 outburst. And they help us rethink the history of Newark beyond black and white."

The exhibit will be featured in the Bloomfield College Library until August 29. For more information, please contact Michelle Chase at

About the exhibit

This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations in this exhibit do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.