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FALL 2016:  The 1960s: Looking Back, Moving Forward

In the volatile days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., violence erupted across the United States. In Trenton, downtown businesses were looted, scores of people were arrested or beaten, and dozens of buildings burned. The so-called “riots” became—and remain—a simple explanation for the downward spiral into urban blight from which Trenton has never recovered.  But the public record has never fully explained the events of April 1968.  Historian Alison Isenberg and filmmaker Purcell Carson are collaborating--along with our students and the community--to explore the era, that particular night, and what both mean for Trenton today.


This project, like all of the work of The Trenton Project, cannot exist without the generosity and stories of Trentonians. Starting in the late Spring of 2016 and continuing through 2017, our group will be sifting through archival records and conducting interviews to help paint a picture of the city in the 1960s.  We are eager to hear your stories and experiences—or those of your parents and grandparents.  We warmly invite you to contact Purcell Carson if you have stories to share, ideas for our work, or to be put on our mailing list for future screenings.


Directed by Talya Nevins  (2017, 9 min.)

Using the story of Harlan Joseph—the only person who died in Trenton’s 1968 disturbances—as a guide, this film explores the map of Trenton in the 1960s and how the city has changed since.


Directed by Andie Ayala and Tylor Johnson  (2017, 6 min.)

Narrated through the voices of three female alumni of Trenton High School this film tells the story of the gender, class and race barriers of going to college. 


Directed by Jordan Antebi and Jack Lohmann  (2017, 6 min.)

This short explores the legacy of small business in downtown Trenton, profiling the merchants who have witnessed more than 50 years of change, and remain hopeful for the future.


Directed by Spencer Parts and Sarah Sakha (2017, 7 min.)

This short film profiles Candlelight Lounge, a Trenton jazz club that has been around since the 1960s.  It’s one of the last of the “great, old jazz joints.”


Directed by Emmy Bender  (2017, 7 min.)

This film examines the civil rights movement in Trenton in the 1960s through the stories and experiences of two community organizers.


Directed by Briana Payton (2017, 10 min.)

This short film explores the story of Harlan Joseph’s life and death through the perspective of those who knew and loved him.

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