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Newark It's My Home - Film Collection

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: Newark It's My Home-(Main)

Content Description

Collection Consists of: 116 16mm film reels, 58 audio reels "It's My Home," is a full-length documentary film on life in Newark as seen through the eyes of three families, one black from the South Ward, one white from the North Ward, and one Portuguese from the Ironbound section. The documentary was created by Gordon Bishop and Saul Taffet. Bishop, a graduate of Rutgers University-Newark (1967) and a journalist, began his career as a theater and movie critic for the North Jersey News (1960-1968), and later became a feature writer and columnist for the Newark Star-Ledger (1969-1996). Saul Taffet, a Newark native who grew up in the Weequahic section of the city, was an independent filmmaker and a film instructor at New York University's School of Continuing Education. "It's My Home" grew out of a class that Bishop took with Taffet in the late 1970s. Bishop wrote, produced, and narrated the film; Taffet directed and edited it. The documentary was broadcast on PBS during the winter of 1980-1981. From March through October of 1980, the five-member crew shot interviews and background footage throughout Newark. Along with members of the three featured families, prominent individuals interviewed for the film included Mayor Kenneth Gibson, Congressman Peter Rodino, N.J. State Senator Wynona Lipman, U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, Archbishop Peter L. Gerety; Executive Superintendent of Schools Alonzo Kittrels, Prudential Chairman Robert Beck, Newark Chamber of Commerce Chairman Rudolph Novotny, funeral director and founder of City National Bank (Newark's first African-American bank) Charles Whigham, and the first Director of the Urban League of Essex County William M. Ashby. Informal interviews with laborers, welfare recipients, city workers, and other individuals regarding food stamps, unemployment, etc. were also included in the documentary. Locations where filming occurred included, among others, Beth Israel Medical Center (Dr. Victor Parsonnet performing open heart surgery); churches: Eden Baptist Church (the Rev. John Shorter), and Our Lady of Good Counsel (the Rev. Tom Smith); schools: St. Benedict's, So. 17th Street School, St. Columba's School, and Vailsburg High School; parks: Weequahic and Lincoln; City Hall; Prudential offices; the North Ward Cultural Center; unemployment offices; a drug rehabilitation center; a corrections center; and street scenes.


Gordon Bishop

Language of Description


Restrictions Apply


Use Restrictions

Audio files have been digitized and are available upon request. The 16mm film reels have not been digitized. The completed film has been digitized and is available here:


  • 1980



The collection consists of 1 Page box containing 58 individually dated and labeled audiotapes; 1 small Hollinger box of camera reports, shot lists and correspondence; and 116 16mm reels of film stored in 12 35mm sized canisters. The contents of the Paige box of audiotapes is as follows: 58 Audio Reels including interviews with the Freeman family (Willie) of 28 Stuyvesant Avenue, the Pye Family (Robert, Tom, and Elizabeth), Mayor Kenneth A. Gibson, Senator Wynona Lipman, Senator Bill Bradley; William Ashby, Archbishop Gerety, congressman Peter Rodino, the Lang-Perry Family (Jolla Lang, and Patricia and Cleveland Perry), Joseph and Elsie Liu, the Ferreirinha family, Alonzo Kittrels, and Manuel and Vic De Luca; 6 reels labeled "Pilot" (August 13, 1980); "Last Survivor" interview with a widower living in an abandoned house; Weequahic Park Ambient Sounds; Newark Airport and Port Newark; Police car and interview with police, "July Fest at Lincoln Park" including Newark Youth Ensemble, Newark Boys Chorus and Garden State Ballet. One small hollinger box of Bishop's notes include: camera report forms includes information on the scenes, crew, footage, film types, shot lists and remarks that may include the names of the individuals filmed. Correspondence and clippings relating to Newark and the documentary are also included. 116 reels of 16 mm film include footage corresponding with audio files.