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The Newark Experience

The Mayor's Office

Mayor Ras Baraka
The official municipal site.


Newark Mayors
Chronological list of Newark mayors from William Halsey (1836-1837) to Ras Baraka (July 2014- ).

Newark Mayors

"Politicians and Urban Policy Change,"
S.C. Brooks. and R.L. Lineberry. IN Urban Policy Analysis: Directions for Future Research. Edited by Terry Nichols Clark. Beverly Hills, Sage Publications, 1981.
Focuses on police services in Newark and Philadelphia and the correlation between mayoral elections and crime data. Available?
Black Mayors and School Politics: The Failure of Reform in Detroit, Gary, and Newark.
Wilbur C. Rich. New York, Garland, 1996.
Analyzes the roles played by black mayors and black politicians in relation to school policies and attempted reforms in Detroit, Gary, and Newark. Finds that neither black nor white political power is sufficient to overcome the power of the "public school cartel" (administrators, school board members, professional educators, and teacher union leaders) which controls school policy-making in large city school districts. Available?

Kenneth Gibson

The Election of Ken Gibson
From the Rise Up Newark site. Includes a host of digitized documents, including posters, speeches, brochures, and oral history clips.
"Gibson of Newark,"
C. Robert Zelnick. City: Magazine of Urban Life and Environment 6, January/February 1972, 10-22. Available?
"Newark: Political Brokers,"
Fred Barbaro. Society 9(10), 1972, 42-47; 50-54.
The election of Kenneth Gibson as Newark's first black mayor within the framework of Newark's political history 1960-1972.
Dana Call Number: Periodical, Shelved by Title Available?
"Black Mayorality Campaigns: Running the 'Race',"
Mfanya D. Tryman. Phylon 35(4), December 1974, 346-358.
Looks at the factors that resulted in the election of Carl Stokes in Cleveland, Richard Hatcher in Gary, and Kenneth Gibson in Newark. Rutgers-restricted Access
Black Cultural Projection: An Analysis of Major Daily News Coverage of Successful Black Mayoral Campaigns in Major U.S. Cities
David L. Stamps, Shaniece Bickham, Sheryl Kennedy Haydel and Jinx Coleman Broussard. Communication Review 25(2), April 2022, pp. 96-116.
Examines newspaper coverage of five Black political figures, specifically mayors, who served as the first nonwhite representative in their city. The mayors include Kenneth Gibson in Newark, New Jersey; Tom Bradley in Los Angeles, California; Coleman Young in Detroit, Michigan; Ernest "Dutch" Morial in New Orleans, Louisiana; and Harold Washington in Chicago, Illinois. Findings reveal that news coverage draws attention to overt racial narratives and emphasizes racial stereotypes. However, news coverage of the candidates' policy proposals was present and often nonracialized. Rutgers-restricted Access
The Persistent Minority: The Black Political Experience in Newark Rutgers-restricted access
Robert Curvin. Thesis (Ph.D), Princeton University, 1975.
Looks at Kenneth Gibson's first term as Newark mayor (1970-1974); concludes that "the lack of substantial change during Gibson's first term is rooted in economic, political, and social structure that operates to protect the status quo, the wealth of the already affluent, and the position and control of those already in power...More specifically, this study attempts to show how a pluralistic society works, over time, to thwart the goals of an oppressed group, even when it becomes a 'majority' in a given jurisdiction." Available?
Illusions of Power: Gibson's Impact Upon Employment Conditions in Newark, 1970-1974.
Willa Johnson. Thesis (Ph.D), Rutgers University, 1978.
Attempts "to determine to what degree, if any, the presence of a Black mayor has improved the conditions of the people of Newark during the years 1970-1974." Finds that the election of a Black mayor does not change the basic power relationships within a city and is no panacea to problems of poverty and unemployment." Available?
Electoral Demands and Political Benefits: Minority as Majority: A Case Study of Two Mayoral Elections in Newark, New Jersey, 1970, 1974 Rutgers-restricted access
Kathryn B. Yatrakis. Thesis (Ph.D), Columbia University, 1981.
" A detailed analysis of the Newark 1970 and 1974 mayoral elections reveals that many specific and appropriate electoral demands and issues were raised by mayoral candidates, interest groups, individuals, groups of voters and filtered through the media. As a result, some symbolic and divisible political benefits were forthcoming." Available?
Newark Will Get There First the Legacy of Mayor Ken Gibson (Part 1) (Part 2)
Thomas Banker, Robert Curvin, Carol Graves and Gustav Heningburg, panalists; moderated by Guy Sterling. Newark History Society program, October 6, 2009.
Venceremos! Harambee!: A Black & Puerto Rican Union?
Lauren O'Brien. New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 4(1), 2018, pp. 130-146.
"In November of 1969, 2,700 members of Newark’s African American and Puerto Rican community assembled at the Black and Puerto Rican Political Convention to mobilize and strategize a plan to gain socio-political power...Newark’s communities of color resolved that the election of the city’s first Black mayor would provide a solution to many of their problems. Accordingly, the election of Kenneth Gibson validated the communities’ unified efforts and symbolized one of the most successful multiracial coalitions in Newark’s history...[However]...for many Puerto Ricans, Gibson’s victory was the impetus for a major rift between Puerto Ricans and African Americans."
A Mayor for all the People? : Kenneth Gibson's Newark
Robert C. Holmes. New Brunswick, N.J., Rutgers University Press, 2019. Available?

Sharpe James

Political Prisoner: You Can be Indicted, Arrested, Convicted and Sent to Prison Without Committing a Crime : A Memoir
Sharpe James. Nutany Publishing, 2013. Available?
The Paradox of African-American Mayoral Leadership and the Persistence of Poverty in the African-American Community Rutgers-restricted access
Kirk Edward Harris. Thesis (Ph.D), Cornell University, 1992.
"This study explores Black mayoral governance in the context of historical and political episodes which shape not only this leadership's governing tendencies but its fundamental relationship with the Black community."Utilizes three detailed case studies of three black mayors: Kurt Schmoke of Baltimore; W. Wilson Goode of Philadelphia; and Sharpe James of Newark. Available?
"Newark Brings Its Municipal Government Online,"
Sharpe James. IN Innovations in E-government: The Thoughts of Governors and Mayors. Edited by Erwin A. Blackstone, Michael L. Bognanno, and Simon Hakim. Lanham, Md., Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. Available?

The 2002 Mayoral Election

Street Fight [Video] Rutgers-restricted access
Oley, PA, Bullfrog Films, 2005.
"Follows the 2002 race for Mayor of Newark, N.J. between 32 year-old Cory Booker and four-term incumbent Sharpe James." Written, directed, and produced by Marshall Curry. Available?
"The Good and the Lucky, "
The Economist 362 (8267), April 6, 2002, p.28
Report on the upcoming (May 2002) mayoral election in Newark. Rutgers-restricted Access
"Generational Conflict in Urban Politics: the 2002 Newark Mayoral Election,"
Jeffrey Kraus. Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics 2(3), 2004, Article 7.
The 2002 mayoral election between incumbent Sharpe James and challenger Cory Booker is part of a new trend in contemporary politics: a contest between an older African-American incumbent and a younger African-American politician. Concludes that the younger--and generally more moderate--politicians have difficulty winning support from older African-American voters. Rutgers-restricted Access
Politics, Paradigms and Perceptions: The Racial, Generational and Urban Development Implications of the 2002 and 2006 Newark Mayoral Elections Rutgers-restricted access
Jonathan L. Wharton. Ph.D. Thesis, Howard University, 2008
" The purpose of this study is to identify and analyze the candidates' race conscious campaigning and to determine whether it had a significant positive or negative impact on voter behavior." Available?

The 2006 Mayoral Election

Newark 2006: The Race for Mayor
New York Times blog.

Cory Booker

25 Accomplishments in 25 Months.
Cory Booker. Newark, N.J., Newark Press Information Office, 2008. Available?
"Cory Booker,"
Gwen Ifill IN The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. New York, Doubleday, 2009, pp. 137-157. Available?
The New Black Politician: Cory Booker, Newark, and Post-Racial America
Andra Gillespie. New York, New York University Press, 2012. Available?
A Post-Racial Change in Gonna Come: Newark, Cory Booker, and the Transformation of Urban America.
Jonathan L. Wharton. New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Available?
Chapter 3: Beyond Booker: Assessing the Prospects of Black and Latino Mayoral Contenders in Newark, New Jersey
Andra Gillespie. IN R.K. Perry, editor. 21st Century Urban Race Politics: Representing Minorities as Universal Interests. Emerald Group Publishing, 2013, pp. 33-68.
"This chapter identifies eight potential successors to Booker and assesses their ability to create a multiracial electoral coalition using prior vote performance in citywide elections." Rutgers-restricted Access

Ras Baraka

Baraka 100 Day Plan (2014)
Focusing on Public Safety, Community Engagement, Executive Recruiting, and Economic Development.


Street Fight [Videorecording].
Oley, PA, Bullfrog Films, 2005. "Follows the 2002 race for Mayor of Newark, N.J. between 32 year-old Cory Booker and four-term incumbent Sharpe James." Written, directed, and produced by Marshall Curry. Available? Online Access Rutgers-restricted access

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