Remembering the Past: Lessons Learned from 1968 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Remembering the Past: Lessons Learned from 1968

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DOVER, Del.- Fred Neil described the riot of 1968 in just one word: a firestorm.

He was working as a radio reporter in Baltimore at the time, and he said the results were devastating. It all began on April 6, just two days after the assassination of Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tenn. As a result, violence broke out in more than 100 cities, including in Baltimore. The violence in that city would continue through April 14, causing at least five deaths, 300 fires, and 400 injuries.

"It was like a ghost town," Neil said. "Because the only thing you saw was the police barriers."

Neil was on his way to a dinner with the NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas on the night of April 6, when the riot first began.

"I get a call from the radio station," he said. "They say I think you better come in here. I said 'I'm going to the Unitas'. I'm going to have dinner.' And they said 'I don't think so.'"

After hearing about the riots, Neil headed towards the station, where he first saw the scope of the damage.

"Going out to watch the devastation," he said. "It was like the bombing of a third world country. You could see the devastation throughout - primarily east Baltimore."

Neil said there were great differences between the riot of 1968, and the developing one in 2015. Namely, Neil said racial tensions were far greater in 1968. However he said there were many similarities as well, and lessons to be learned.

"I think what was so terrible about that," he said. "And what's so terrible about this is that the devastation hurt the people in Baltimore who needed the most help."

To see the full interview with Neil, you can get it now by visiting the WebXtra tab on www.wboc.com

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