In preparation for Colorado Day on August 1, we asked each member of the State Historian’s Council to reflect on what “our beloved Colorado” means to them. Here, Nicki Gonzales reflects on her family’s place in creating her beloved—and in some cases bygone—Colorado.
On the evening of July 12, 1967, in Newark, New Jersey, two white police officers badly beat a black cab driver named John William Smith in the course of arresting him for a traffic violation. News of this spread like wildfire through the African American community, and angry crowds gathered outside the police station. Though Smith was injured, but not dead, riots erupted across the city that night. By the time order was restored on July 17, whole blocks lay smoldering and twenty-six people, mostly African Americans, lay dead.