Naomi Sylvia Charner Campbell


Naomi Charner was a graduate of South Side High who lived at 712 Bergen St and 140 Somerset St in Newark. In 1947, she attended Upsala College and was a senior and Vice President of the Phi Omega Chi Sorority. She had also founded an interracial organization known as the Four Freedoms Action Committee. She had won Shapiro Scholarships to attend Upsala.

She was Chairman of Intercultural Relations for the American Federation of Negro College Students and in this capacity introduced Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt at a 1945 Rally at South Side High.

A freshman named Bernice Petty was rejected from the sorority, Naomi felt it was because of her race. She resigned from the sorority due to the decision. The story made national news and several papers followed up for months afterwards. Twins Mary and Margie Zimmerman also quit the sorority and the four girls planned their own organization. They founded a Delta Beta Delta sorority and got approval from Upsala. Membership was decided democratically.

Star Ledger March 15, 1947

Naomi graduated a month later as valedictorian. She married Charles Melton Campbell who was the Executive Secretary of the American Federation of Negro College Students, according to the article about the 1945 Rally. They met at a YMCA Leadership Meeting.

Naomi passed the Illinois Bar Exam while Charles was studying in Chicago in 1950. However, her mother became ill and she went home and passed the bar exam in New York, opening her own law firm in 1958 and even became the first woman attorney to take part in “The Verdict is Yours” a TV drama. After she and Charles moved to Hawaii, she passed the bar in 1963 and became a Family Court Judge in 1966. She was the city’s deputy corporation counsel and headed the Family Support Division. She had various community and national positions including President of the Aloha Business and Professional Women’s Club and Board of Directors for the State Bar Association. Charles was a Councilman for the City. She died in 2017 in Tennessee, the home of her daughter.

Honolulu Advertiser, Nov 8, 1963



“Sorority Officer Resigns to Protest Ban on Negro” Star Ledger Mar 15, 1947

“3 Upsala Girls Plan Group for All Races and Creeds” Star Ledger Mar 21, 1947

“Upsala OKs Rebel Unit” Star Ledger May 16, 1947

“87 Receive Degrees at Upsala College” Star Ledger Jun 8, 1947

“Jerseyeans Win Shapiro Scholarship” Star Ledger Jul 14, 1946

“Mrs. FDR Heard Here” Star Ledger Oct 2, 1945

Moore, Black Pioneers in Blue Hawaii

Naomi Sylvia Campbell

“Naomi Campbell in Family Court” Honolulu Advertiser Jul 4, 1966

“City Counsel in National Post” Honolulu Advertiser Nov 20, 1974

“Aloha Professional Women Install” Honolulu Advertiser Jun 15, 1980

“Speaking of Crime” Honolulu Advertiser Feb 16, 1980

Honolulu Advertiser, Feb 28, 1990