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Fred Means Papers

Identifier: MG Nwk Means-(Main)

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of political, academic, and professional materials documenting Means’ career and activism. Note that a number of items in the collection are tagged to indicate that they have been scanned for possible use on the “Rise Up Newark” web site


  • 1965 - 2018

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Fred E. Means was born in South Carolina and grew up in Newark. He graduated from Miller Street School and South Side High School (now Malcolm X Shabazz HS). After serving n the U.S. Army he a BS degree from New York University, an MA from Trenton State College, and a Masters and PhD in Education from Rutgers University. He served for five years at Rutgers Graduate School of Education as a lecturer, supervisor, and Director of the Rutgers Urban Teacher Education Program (known as “Project WE”). He then spent nineteen years at Jersey City State College (later New Jersey City University) as a professor and Dean of the School of Professional Studies and Education. He retired in 1994.

From the 1960s on Means was an active participant in Newark civic and political life. He served as president of the Newark-Essex Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality from May 1965, and in the summer of 1965 joined with national CORE leader James Farmer to lead a Newark march protesting police brutality. Means also served on the Business and Industrial Coordinating Council (BICC) and the United Community Corporation (UCC), and was Head Teacher of the Head Start Program at Cleveland School (1968- 1970). In 1967 he joined with a group of Newark educators to form the Organization of Negro Educators (ONE); he served as president of ONE from its founding to 1970. ONE protested hiring and pay inequities in the Newark school system and was strongly critical of the Newark Teachers Union during and after the Newark Teachers’ Strike (1970-1971). In 1972 Mayor Kenneth Gibson appointed Means to a three-year term on the Newark Board of Education, a period he has described as “one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. On the Board he often found himself part of a dissident minority group, with Board members Helen Fullilove, Vickie Donaldson, and George Branch.

Fred Means married Helen P. Means, a teacher, who attended Newark State College. He has described himself as “a God-fearing Christian” and has served as a Trustee of Newark’s Mount Zion Baptist Church on Broadway. Fifty years after the height of the civil rights movement he joined with Newark civil rights activist and historian Robert Curvin to advocate for the placing of a plaque at the church, which had provided space for CORE meetings and other civil rights events in the 1960s.


.63 Linear Feet (1 Hollinger box, 1 half Hollinger box)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of papers documenting Fred Means career and activism.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Fred Means, 2018

Related Materials

Archival Collections at NPL:

Robert Curvin Papers (MG Curvin)

Business and Industrial Coordinating Council Collection (MG Nwk BICC)

Doug Eldridge Collection (MG Eldridge), re: United Community Corporation

“The Making of a Civil and Human Rights Activist” by Fred Means (MG Nwk AF AM)

Note: Much of the above is available digitally at

Panels with Fred Means:

Newark History Society. “A Time of Hope: Newark Black’s in the 1950s” ( 974.93200496 T48 2010), also available at

Newark History Society. “When Martin Luther King Jr. Came to Newark”, available at

Other Libraries:

Library of Congress. Kenneth Bancroft Clark Papers. (MSS78303)

Library of Congress. CORE Records Addendum. (Mfm 18,640)

Gail Malmgreen
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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