Manage episode 331750161 series 2885711
BlackFacts.com presents the black fact of the day for June 16.
Kenneth A. Gibson became the first African American mayor of Newark.
He entered politics in the 1960s, during the Civil Rights Movement, by joining the National Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).
Gibson ran for mayor in 1966. He joined the mayoral race only six weeks before the election. Mayor Hugh J. Addonizio was reelected, but Gibson got more votes than expected. Gibson would spend the next four years preparing for the 1970 mayoral campaign.
In July of 1967, African Americans in Newark rebelled when a black taxi driver was arrested and beaten by white police officers. Over five days, 26 people died, but the violence sent a message that Newark’s African Americans were no longer willing to be treated as second-class citizens.
In 1970, Gibson ran for office again and won. He became the first African American mayor of a Northeastern city.
He inspired other African Americans to enter politics. Following his term in office, other Northeastern cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York have elected black mayors.
Since leaving city government, Gibson has headed Gibson Associates, a consulting firm that advises building developers and investment bankers on public financing and other construction management issues.
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