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Photos from Mayor Gibson's Publicity Office

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MG Gibson PO-(Main)
Boxes 1 and 2 contain 6 unlabelled folders (ca. 1970-ca. 1989) containing mostly 8" x 10" black and white publicity photographs of Kenneth A. Gibson, members of his administration, and events in Newark. The bulk of the photographs were taken during Gibson's mayoralty, and in ocnnection with his official duties. Subjects include ground-breakings, inaugurations, swearing-in and award ceremonies, and other events; group photographs of the mayor with dignitaries, council members, and prominent guests of the city; speeches; parades, and festivals; etc. Some of the photographs are labeled and dated, and a few are accompanied by correspondence or press releases.

Box 3 consists of photographs, with similar formats and topics as above. Folder titles are: "Pictures Identified, Cards typed," with catalogue cards identifying the event or location of photographs, few of which include Gibson; "Checked"; "Sports"; "Street Scenes"; "Water Shed"; "K. A. Gibson"; "Gibson and President Carter"; "Mayor and Famous People," includes 3 photographs, none of well-known individuals; "PSE&G"; "Group Unknown"; and several fiolders of poor quality photographs or unknown subjects.


  • 1970 - 1989

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission. Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.


1.83 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Kenneth Allen Gibson (b. 1932), Newark's first African-American mayor, served as mayor from 1970 to 1986.

Gibson was born in Enterprise, Alabama, but moved to Newark's Central Ward in 1940 with his parents, and younger brother Harold. His father Willie worked in the Swift packing plant in Kearny, and his mother Daisy worked as a seamstress. Gibson attended the Monmouth Street School and Cleveland Junior High School, and graduated from Central High School in 1950, the same year that he entered the Newark College of Engineering. Gibson, whose college education was interrupted by work and by his service in the military, graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from NCE in 1962.

From 1956-1958, Gibson served in Hawaii with the 65th Engineer Battalion of the United States Army; otherwise he was employed in Newark: Engineer, Highway Department (1950-1960), Chief Engineer, Newark Housing Authority (1960-1966), and Chief Structural Engineer (1966-1970). Gibson first married at the age of eighteen, a marriage that ended in divorce; he later married Muriel Cook (1929-1983) and he had two daughters, Jo Anne (Danks) and Cheryl (Fuller), and one step-daughter, Joyce (Williams).

Throughout the early 1960s, Gibson was active in community affairs, as director of the Newark YW-YMCA and in the Newark chapters of the Urban League and the NAACP. In 1964, Gibson was chosen as the "Outstanding Alumnus" by Newark College of Engineering and as "Man of the Year" by Newark's Junior Chamber of Commerce.

In 1966 Gibson joined the mayoral race only six weeks before the election. He received 1 percent of the vote, causing a run-off, but ultimately lost to incumbent Hugh J. Addonizio. Gibson spent the next four years preparing for the 1970 mayoral campaign, which he won.

When Gibson entered office in 1970 he was faced with a large budget deficit, high crime, and unemployment, along with the lingering social, political, and fiscal ramifications of the 1967 Newark riots. During his tenure as mayor Gibson acquired substantial federal funding for Newark and added or rehabilitated thousands of housing units. Despite all efforts, however, Newark's population continued to decline while crime and unemployment rates remained high.

As municipal challenges mounted in the late 1970s, and early 1980s, Gibson's image suffered. In 1981 he made an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid, losing the Democratic nomination to James Florio, and in 1986 he lost Newark's mayoral election to Sharpe James.

Gibson ended his tenure as mayor facing accusations of corruption; in 2002 Gibson received three years probation for tax fraud.

Gibson remained in Newark until his death in 2019.

Related Materials

See also: Mayor Kenneth A. Gibson Collection, Newark Public Library, MG Gibson; Kenneth A. Gibson Papers, New Jersey Historical Society, MG 1684; and Photographs: Kenneth Gibson Administration, City of Newark Archives, Box 0401.
No finding aid text from Newark Archives Project

Repository Details

Part of the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center, Newark Public Library Repository

3rd Floor
Newark Public Library
5 Washington St.
Newark NJ 07102 United States