Kenneth Gibson's Newark
"Kenneth A. Gibson was a trailblazer who set the stage for every African-American elected official in this state as well as many places around the country...He led our city in a difficult time as Newark tried to recover from the 1967 Rebellion. He will be remembered in his effort to live up to his own words: 'Wherever the country is going, Newark will get there first....This book brings together many reflections of people who joined him and worked with him to transform Newark. Ken Gibson is an urban American titan, and this book will place him before a greater audience, who will understand and see him in terms of the vision he had and the context he deserves." -- Ras J. Baraka * Mayor of Newark, New Jersey * "Absolutely fascinating! A Mayor for All the People offers a fine grained, kaleidoscopic portrait of Kenneth A. Gibson as mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Elected in the first generation of black mayors of major American cities at a pivotal historical juncture, Gibson was both individual and symbol, an engineer without political experience as well as an emblematic figure caught in the era's irreconcilable hopes and conflicts. It's all here, as told by thoughtful people who were there." -- Nell Irvin Painter * author of Creating Black Americans: African American History and its Meanings, 1619 to the Present * "A Mayor for All the People is an extraordinary exploration of the complex legacy of Newark's first black mayor, Ken Gibson. Resisting the temptation of hagiography, this collection of essays examines Gibson's achievements and his failures-the hopes invested in his election and the bitter disappointment that followed. Anyone interested in the history of Newark - and of black politics during this period - must read this book." -- Eddie S. Glaude * William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African-American Studies at Princeton University * "The significance of Kenneth Gibson's election nearly 50 years ago as one of America's first African-American mayors of a major city continues to reverberate today. In Newark and cities like it across the country, empowering the voices of black and brown residents in electoral politics continues as a front-burner issue, epitomized by Newark's current home-grown Mayor, Ras J. Baraka, who followed in Gibson's tradition with the campaign promise that "when I'm mayor, you're the mayor." Here in this masterfully produced volume, we see those voices emerge, powerfully, across time and generations, to contextualize the complexities facing Newark's first black mayor while never losing sight of the extraordinary scale of his accomplishments. In these pages resides wisdom that is not merely historical, but intensely immediate as we consider the work that remains for us to do in transforming our politics to achieve a more just society." -- Nancy Cantor * Chancellor, Rutgers-Newark * "A fascinating exploration of the challenges, defeats and hard-won victories during a remarkable period in the history of Newark, New Jersey's largest city under the leadership of its first black mayor. The diverse vantage points of the essays in this thoughtfully framed volume provide a unique and rich look into the groundbreaking tenure of Kenneth A. Gibson." -- Obery Hendricks * former president, Payne Theological Seminary, Wilberforce, Ohio * "The years of Ken Gibson are a testament to the city's resilience. The voices in this volume recall the good and the bad, the successes and disappointments. A Mayor for All The People is a potent reminder that in times of crisis and disruption, the first prerequisite for recovery is for people to come together." -- Roger J. Cohen * LinkedIn *
ROBERT C. HOLMES is a clinical professor of law at Rutgers University. He served in the Gibson administration as executive director of the Newark Housing Development and Rehabilitation Corporation, then was later named executive director of the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation. He has also served as Assistant Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and as a Partner in the law firm Wilentz Goldman and Spitzer. RICHARD W. ROPER is a policy consultant whose many positions in local, state, regional, and federal government agencies also included stints as director of the Program for New Jersey Affairs and assistant dean of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He later served as planning department director at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and as a Senior Fellow at the Rockefeller Institute of Government at the state University of New York.
Foreword by U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman Preface by Robert C. Holmes Introduction: How Should We Measure the Historical Significance of the Kenneth Gibson Era in Newark? Robert C. Holmes 1 On Being First Mayor David Norman Dinkins Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver Mayor Patricia Sheehan 2 Navigating Racial Politics Fred Means Barbara Kukla Martin Bierbaum Mayor Sharpe James State Senator Ronald Rice Fran Adubato Sheldon Bross, Esq. Elizabeth "Liz" Del Tufo Robert "Bob" Pickett Marie Villani Steve Adubato, Jr. Harold Hodes William Payne Grizel Ubarry Rev. DeForest Soaries Junius Williams, Esq. Charles I. Auffant, Esq. 3 Friends and Family Elton Hill Harold Gibson Camille Savocca Gibson 4 Trying to Make City Government Work Rev. James A. Scott Diane Johnson James "Jack" Krauskopf Dennis Cherot Phillip Elberg, Esq. Robert C. Holmes, Esq. Richard W. Roper Jerome Harris Thomas Massaro Lawrence "Larry" Hamm Vicki Donaldson Hubert Williams, Esq. Alan Zalkind Roger Lowenstein, Esq. 5 An In-Depth Look inside City Government: Mayor Gibson's Right-Hand Man David Dennison 6 Working with the Anchor Institutions Al Koeppe Vincente Perez Richard Cammarieri Monsignor William Linder Saul Fenster Zachary "Zach" Yamba Gene Vincenti Frank Askin, Esq. George Hampton 7 Forces beyond a Mayor's Control Brendan "Dan" O'Flaherty Jon Dubin, Esq. 8 Mayor Gibson Reflects Conclusion: Gibson's Legacy-The Man, the Time, and the Place, 1970-1986 Richard W. Roper Afterword by Robert S. Holmes and William M. Tiersten Notes on Contributors Index