Mary Womble Spruel

1906-1988 An early Black teacher, hired in 1945 (see Timeline, bottom of page here). Born and raised in Montclair and taught … More

Dorothy Turpin Smith

1910-1987 An early Black teacher, hired in 1945 (see Timeline, bottom of page here). Was eventually appointed Supervisor of Music … More

Olive A Mathews Summers

1876-1911 Born and raised in Newark. Lived at 192 Charlton St. New York Age called a “much beloved public school … More

Emily B Thomas

1870-1924 Assistant teacher to James Baxter at the Colored School from at least 1888. Spent most of her teaching career … More

Alma Beatty

1940-2015 Vice President of Community Affairs at Beth Israel. Beth Israel calls her “a trailblazer in our community”, She was … More

Irene E Morris

1900-1953 Born in Newark. Listed as a nurse in city directories from 1923. Appointed as a visiting nurse for the … More

Mildred Miller Free

1893-1939 Prominent in church and women’s circles. Active in St. Philips Church and the NJ State Federation of Colored Women’s … More

Hamilton Family

Laura Bland Hamilton 1853-1952 Born into slavery in VA. Came to Newark after the Civil War with her sister and … More

Mildred Morris Williams

1905-1958 Born in Newark. One of the early Black teachers in Newark. In 1938 the Herald News called her “one … More

Shirley Northern Green

c. 1935-1983 Appointed director of the Division of Public Welfare in 1978 by Ken Gibson. Previously served as Rent Control … More

Marcia King Stillwell

c. 1846-1929 Daughter of Mary Thompson King. Sister of Harriet and Ellen King. Marcia King was First Assistant to James … More

Ellen C. King

c. 1839-1936 Daughter of Mary Thompson King and sister of Harriet King Brown. Born at 70 Warren Street and lived … More

Harriet A. King Brown

c.1850-1912 Thanks to Noelle Lorraine Williams for sharing this name and New York Age obituary. The New York Age called … More

Carrie Epps Powell

c. 1905-1987 Born in Newark, attended East Side High, Newark State University and graduated Rutgers in 1931. Worked as a … More

Gladys Berry Francis

c. 1911-1993 Born in Newark.* Director of Elementary Education from 1967-1978. Previously taught at Charlton Street School and South 8th … More

Grace Eubanks Malone

c. 1908-1994 First black welfare director in New Jersey. Worked as a social worker for the city starting in 1931, … More

Pauline Sims Puryear

1900-1971 Miss Pauline Puryear was a social worker in Newark for many years. She’s famous nationally for being the 4th … More

Wynona Moore Lipman

1923* -1999 Though Lipman is well known as a Senator, some of her early accomplishments are lesser known. She got … More

Doris Thompson Dorsey

1911-1985 Doris Dorsey was the first Black woman supervisor in the Newark Post Office in 1966. She was “the only … More

Violet Johnson

1870-1939 Civic leader and suffragist in Summit. Active in the New Jersey Federation of Colored Womens Clubs and the New … More

Miss Rhapsody Viola Wells

1902-1984 Photo from Barbara J Kukla Papers Born in Newark, Viola Wells, known as Miss Rhapsody was an internationally acclaimed … More

Florence Randolph

1866-1951 Suffragist, ordained minister and clubwomen. Organizer of the NJ Federation of Colored Womens Clubs. Randolph’s life has been covered … More

Martha Belle Williams

1924-1969 With M. Bernadine Johnson Marshall, first African American woman admitted to the New Jersey Bar. From Montclair but attended Essex … More

Bertell Collins Wright

1908-1993 President of the Essex County Tuberculosis League, based in Newark at 42 Park Place, sometimes called “Director of Negro … More

Myrtle C. Williams

1900- 15 Jun 1965 (?) Grew up in Newark on Chestnut St. First “colored girl” to finish a 4 year … More

Stella Windsor Wright

1887-1932 From North Carolina. Social worker who helped establish the Friendly Neighborhood House with Gladys Churchman and Louise Shugard. Stella … More

Clara Dasher

1930-1995 President of the Essex County College Board of Trustees, longtime active member of the Newark Teacher’s Union. Teacher from … More

Betty Lester

1945-2021 Worked in Public Defenders Office. In 1977 appointed a Municipal Court Judge at age 31. In 1985 appointed to … More

Elitea Bulkley Allison

c. 1913 -2007 Received her graduate degree of Library Science in 1936, starting in Orangeburg South Carolina. Bachlor’s from Claflin … More

Eleta Caldwell

1945-2017 Principal at Arts High School 1991-2003, previously Chair of Art and teacher. Artist, co-founded the 1980s, “Black Women in … More

Gladyce Black Sherman

1908-1995 Artist and educator. Member of the faculty of the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts for over 20 … More

Mildred Lockett Lipscombe

1922-? Another of the library’s first Black librarians, hired 8 years after Theresa Moore. After graduating Virginia Union University, and … More

Wilma Jackson Grey

1945- Image from Newark Library First African American woman to Direct Newark Public Library. Library employee for 46 years. Graduated … More

Barbara George

c. 1953-2000 First woman and first African American woman police captain. Weequahic graduate. Sharpe James called her a “trailblazer, role … More

Trish Morris-Yamba

1944*-2019 Founded the CHEN School. She was recognized as a visionary in the field of early childhood education. She was … More

Mary E. Cary Burrell

1866-1949 Born in Virginia. Strong member of NJ State Federation of Women’s Clubs from 1915, running the Legislative Department, while … More

Mary Thompson King

c. 1806 – 19 Mar 1893 Married Jacob King Oct 22, 1829. With her husband, ran an Underground Railroad stop … More

Rosamond Stewart Marrow

1903-1972 President of the Board of the Community Hospital (African American hospital, previously Kenney) in Newark. Also on the faculty … More

Lettie Mae Mulford

1883-1970 *sometimes listed as “Lettie Mulford” or “May Mulford” Teacher in the Newark Public School System for 42 years. A … More

Eva Mae Mulford

c. 1884-1886 to 1944 Daughter of Clara Irene Mulford. Lived in family house at 41 Chestnut. Early African American nurse … More

Renee Starks Steed

1914-1996 Born Renee Gregory. Fashion designer. Directed Renee’s School of French Designing and Modeling (591 High St) and ran New … More

Julia Baxter Bates

c. 1917-2003 The first African-American student admitted to Douglass College. Granddaughter of James Baxter, principal of the Colored School. Master’s … More

Carole Anderson Graves

1938- President of the Newark Teacher’s Union. Leader of the 1970 Teacher’s Strike. Later ran for General Assembly and served … More

Ruth Crumpton Dargan

1921-2010 Became a Newark policewoman in 1949. First Newark woman detective chosen for the Homicide Squad and sent to Quantico … More

Armita Harris Douglas

1874-1958 President, New Jersey Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. Helped organize the NAACP and the Urban League in Newark and … More

Laquetta C Nelson

1955- Advocate for gay and lesbian rights. Co-founder of the Newark Pride Alliance. Awarded the 2004 Community Service Award from … More

Janyce Jackson Jones

1951- Co-Pastor of Unity Fellowship Church located in Newark, NJ. Pastor of Liberation in Truth Unity Fellowship Church for which … More

Grace L Gregory

1919-2007 Owned Poro Beauty Shop on West Market in the 1940s-1950s. In 1983, founded “Guiding Light Inc.” (originally Caring and … More

Audrey Harvey West

Audrey Harvey Massiah Harris West 1927-2003 Born Audrey Harvey in Trenton, Audrey attended Howard University and came to Newark in … More

Aneatha Dames Todd

1918-1998 Active in the UMDNJ struggle, member of the Concerned Citizens of the College. Instrumental in organizing the Gladys Dickinson … More

Olivia Queene Brown

1882-? Beauty culturist since 1912, ran the Poro Beauty School on 9 Wallace Street which she opened in 1936 or … More

Anna E Whittington

c. 1875-1956 African American woman who ran her own real estate agency in Newark for more than 30 years from … More

Gloria Gaynor

1943- Born Gloria Fowles in Newark. Graduated South Side High in 1961. Singer. Biggest hit “I Will Survive”. Bibliography Barbara … More

Sandra West

1947-2019 1964 Weequahic graduate. Editor of the Black Organization for Students newsletter at Rutgers and first African American female editor … More

Connie Woodruff

1921-1996 Journalist, labor organizer, educator. City editor of the New Jersey Herald News. Also wrote On the Scene in Jersey … More

Thelma Gillis

1916-2003 First woman and first non-law school grad assistant chief of the municipal court clerks of the City of Newark. … More

Kitty (Kearney) V. Taylor

1926-2008 Attended Charlton Street School and South Side High. Senior citizen activist and radio host on WNJR with “The Kitty … More

Pearl Beatty

1936-2019 Active in the Urban League, NACCP, organizing for JFK and the March on Washington. Attended Morton St. School and … More

Dolores Collins Benjamin

1913-2007 Founded the North Jersey Philharmonic Glee Club. Founded in her Newark, N.J. home in 1939, the all-male African-American choral … More

Lillian B Huff Stewart

1909-2007 Social writer, social editor of the New Jersey Herald News in Newark. Reporter who covered all kinds of stories … More

Loraine White

c. 1947 In 1980, said to be the first Black woman to become a high school football coach in the … More

Diane Sutton

1941-2001 Co-owned Je’s Restaurant. The first restaurant in Downtown Newark founded by people of color. Mayor Sharpe James called her … More

Marie Foster Whigham

1923-2006 Helped her husband Charles Whigham to found Citi National Bank and Whigham Funeral Home. Mayor Sharpe James called her … More

Amaelia Steward

1915-2001 Owned Steward’s Restaurant and Peppermint Lounge. Self-made millionaire. Bibliography Kukla, Barbara J. Newark Women: From Suffragettes to the Statehouse. … More

Mae Muldrow

1909 -1977 Owned LaVogue Beauty Salon. Nationally known and active with the Cordelia Greene Johnson Foundation (scholarships for beauticians). She … More

Ella Moncur

1919-1999 Wife of jazz artist, owned the Theatrical Beauty Salon in Newark. Later retired to Florida and taught there. Image … More

Sally Carroll

1922-2019 One of the first Black policewomen along with Rhoda Daniels and Eleanor M. Stokes . Actively involved with the … More

Hannah Mandeville

1811-1902 Born into slavery, one of the first members of the African American Plane St. Church and active in the … More

Amina Baraka

1942- Amina Baraka is an American poet, actress, author, community organizer, singer, dancer, and activist. She graduated from Arts High … More

Clara L Scudder

1874-1930 Clara L Scudder was very accomplished on the piano and organ. She learned from her father David Scudder who … More

Alice Bunce

1893-1970 Alice E. Bunce was the first African American woman to graduate from the New Jersey College of Pharmacy in … More

Mary C. Woody

c. 1877-1966 Mary C. Woody became the first licensed female funeral director in NJ in Newark in 1913. She opened … More

GiGi Foushee

1947-1997 GiGi Foushee was a Newark police officer, county detective, head Newark’s ABC department, deputy mayor & first African-American woman … More

Gladys Grauer

1923-2019 Artist, launched the Aard Studio Gallery in Newark in 1972. Also ran for office with the Socialist Workers Party … More

Zelma Mitchell Collins

1932- Zelma Collins was the first black teacher at South 17th Street School in 1952 and rose to principal! Later, … More

Rebecca Andrade Doggett

1941- Founder of Tri City People’s Corp. First Director of the Essex County Office of Citizen’s Services, the founding Executive … More

Larrie Stalks

1925-2015 Larrie Stalks was Essex County Register from 1974-1994. Stalks became  Executive Secretary of the Newark Planning Board in 1962. … More

Mildred Crump

1938- Mildred Crump was Newark’s first African American councilwoman and first female council President. She was also the first African … More

Marion Bolden

1946- Marion Bolden was superintendent of the Newark Public Schools from 1999-2008. She was born in Newark and is a … More

Mollie Dawkins

1908-1984 Mollie Dawkins was co-organizer of the Dawkins Civic Association, worked for the Housing Authority and worked with South Side … More

Bernice Cross

c. 1918-2011 Bernice Cross worked at the Star Ledger all her life (from 1939). She coordinated several sections of the … More

Nellie Grier

c. 1900-1984 Mrs. Nellie Grier, who was known as “Mother Grier” in Newark, founded and directed the senior center on … More

Grace Baxter Fenderson

1882-1962 Grace Baxter Fenderson (1882-1962) was one of the first African American teachers in the Newark Public Schools and taught … More

Leila Gardner

1914-1993 Leila Gardner was executive director of the Newark Traveler’s Aid Society. She was the first African-American in the nation … More

Pryno B Hillman

c. 1916-1964 Pryno B. Hillman (c. 1916-1963) founded the Mary Bethune Social Club, was an organizing and creative director of … More

Pansy L Borders

1906-1978 Pansy L. Borders (1906-1978) was the first director of Child Guidance for the Newark Board of Ed and served … More

Marie Anderson Bagby

1925-2003 Marie Bagby (1925-2003) was a teacher starting in 1944, and eventually principal at Barringer, West Side and University High … More

Golden Johnson

1903-1984 Golden Johnson was the first black woman to serve as a Newark municipal court judge. She grew up in … More

Eurlee Reeves

c. 1898-? Eurlee Reeves (center) was Newark’s only female night club owner in the Swing Era She owned a night … More

Vera Brantley McMillon

1909-1987 Vera McMillon worked for the Public Welfare Department for 37 years, co-founded Tri City People’s Organization for Progress and … More

Gladys Churchman

1902-1974 Gladys Churchman ran the Friendly Neighborhood House, as well as being part of the Churchman Funeral Home. She was … More

Louise Epperson

1908-2002 Louise Epperson was key in the protests against UMDNJ in the 1960s & helped negotiate the Medical School Agreements, … More

Bernice Bass

1926-2000 Bernice Bass (right) had a major presence in the city’s music, radio, & political scenes. She had a Sunday … More

Dr. E. Mae McCarroll

1898-1990 Dr. E Mae McCarroll was the first American American physician at Newark City Hospital in 1946. She said she … More

E. Alma Williams Flagg

1918-2018 Alma Flagg was the first African American principal of an integrated school in Newark in 1964, in 1967 she … More

Jennie Levell Lemon

1913-1982 Married to Tom Lemon in Newark in 1950. Listed as a waitress in 1930, and a WPA Investigator on … More

Mary Beasley Burch

1906-2001 Mary Beasley Burch founded the Leaguers non-profit focused on the development of African American youth & was the first … More

Emily Miles

1910-1999 Fashion designer. Known for her hats and for frequent fashion shows in Newark. Image from: Newark Library. Bibliograpjy  “History … More

Musette Brooks Gregory

1876-1921 Musette Gregory was a suffragist and activist. She was a leader in the Urban League of Newark and Vice … More

H. Blanche Harris

1878-1956 (Thanks to George Robb who did much research on Harris). Blanche Harris was active in the suffrage movement in … More

Louise Scott Rountree

1927-1983 Founder of the Scott School of Beauty Culture. Known as Newark’s first Black woman millionaire. Bibliography S-13 Scott Louise, … More

Brenda Estelle Ray Moryck

1894-1949 Black writer and social activist born in Newark. Worked with Newark Bureau of Charities. She published short stories, essays, … More

Louise Bullock

1910-1974 Louise Bullock graduated from the University of Newark’s College of Arts & Sciences in 1937. She may be the … More

Effa Manley

1897-1981 Effa Manley owned the Newark Eagles, championship winning Negro Leagues team with her husband Abraham Manley. She was very … More

Sarah Vaughan

1924-1990 Sarah Vaughan described as having “one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century.” Vaughan grew up in … More