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The Honorable Kenneth Gibson

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Information about The Honorable Kenneth Gibson

Profile image of The Honorable Kenneth Gibson

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Political leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Dark colors
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
Wherever American Cities Are Going, Newark Will Get There First.

Birthplace

Born:
5/15/1932
Birth Location:
Enterprise, Alabama

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Political leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Dark colors
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
Wherever American Cities Are Going, Newark Will Get There First.

Birthplace

Born:
5/15/1932
Birth Location:
Enterprise
See how The Honorable Kenneth Gibson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Political leader Kenneth Gibson was born on May 15, 1932 in Enterprise, Alabama to Willie Gibson and Daisy Gibson. In 1940, his family migrated to Newark, New Jersey. He attended Monmouth Street School, Cleveland Junior High School and graduated with honors from Newark’s Central High School. Gibson served in the United States Army in the 65th Engineering Battalion from 1956 to 1958. He continued his education after leaving the army, and received his B.S. degree in structural engineering in 1962 from the Newark College of Engineering in Newark, New Jersey.

From 1950 to 1960, he worked as an engineer for the New Jersey Highway Department. Then in 1960, he was hired as the chief engineer for the Newark Housing Authority and was promoted to the position of New Jersey State Official Chief Structural Engineer for the City of Newark in 1966. In this role, Gibson held several community administration and management roles for the City of Newark and the Office of Mayor Hugh J. Addonizio. In 1970, Gibson was elected to the position of Mayor of Newark, New Jersey and served four consecutive terms from 1970 to 1986 – he was the first African American Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Gibson also ran unsuccessfully for governor of New Jersey in 1981 and 1985.

During his career, he received numerous recognitions and awards for his public and government service. In 1964, Newark’s Junior Chamber of Commerce named him Man of the Year. In 1976, Gibson was elected president of the United States Conference of Mayors, as the first African American to hold this position. In 1979, Gibson received the U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards Foundation.

Gibson was active in the National Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the YMCA and the YWCA. He headed Newark’s Business and Industry Coordinating Council, a job-finding organization, and served as vice-president of the United Community Corporation, an antipoverty agency.

Gibson passed away on March 29, 2019.

Kenneth Gibson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2017.

See how The Honorable Kenneth Gibson is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Kenneth Gibson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about racial discrimination in Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers his family's move to Newark, New Jersey
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his community in Enterprise, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about the Newark Public Schools
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his community in Newark, New Jersey
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his early personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about growing up in Newark, New Jersey
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers playing the saxophone
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers the economic impact of World War II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers the treatment of African American soldiers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers being drafted into the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his experiences in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers working for the Newark Housing Authority
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes the racial demographics of Newark, New Jersey
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his career at the Newark Housing Authority
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his civil rights activities in Newark, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson recalls his early political influences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers the riots of 1967 in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his children
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers the riots of 1967 in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about the state of public education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about the criminal justice system
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers his election as mayor of Newark, New Jersey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson recalls the start of his mayoral term in Newark, New Jersey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about the healthcare and insurance industries in Newark, New Jersey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers his administrative appointments in the City of Newark
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson describes his hiring strategy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his crime reduction programs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson recalls his presidency of the U.S. Conference of Mayors
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his relationships with other mayors
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his affirmative action program
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers the tax crisis in Newark, New Jersey
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson shares his views on taxation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about the discriminatory sentencing practices in Newark, New Jersey
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his gubernatorial campaigns
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson reflects upon his experiences as the first black mayor of Newark, New Jersey
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers Amiri Baraka
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers his successor, Mayor Sharpe James
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson talks about his engineering consulting firm
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers his indictment
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson remembers Ras Baraka
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson reflects upon the treatment of African American politicians
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson shares his advice to aspiring African American politicians
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Kenneth Gibson narrates his photographs