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Parker-Brown Papers

Identifier:  MG Nwk Parker-Brown-(Main)

Scope and Contents

The collection is valuable for its focus on artistic life and African American Newarkers. It contains poetry by such famous Newark writers as Alma Flagg, Mansa Mussa and Zayid Muhammad (folders 1-2). The bulk of the collection contains paper materials (bulk fliers, programs and invitations) from Urban Voices, an African American poetry group in the Newark area, as well as a few from other Newark events (folders 3- 5, 9, 11-12). Also in the collections is the Urban Voices 1982 publication (folder 6), material from the Theatre of Universal Images (folder 7), and material from a poetry contest Urban Voices hosted at Turtle Back Zoo (folder 8). Lastly, the collection contains material on the “day in the life in Newark” photography project, which culminated in the publication ““Newark, a day in the city” in 1988 (folder 10)


  • 1975 - 1987

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

Urban Voices was created in July 1980, through the cooperative efforts of Anne Gadson Brown, Joanne Butler, and Marian Crewe (as listed in 1982 publication). Librarian James Brown and Hajjah Daphne Benyard are listed in their obituaries as founding members. Urban Voices was a group of poets and artists who shared their thoughts, ideas and experiences. Their goal was to reach out to individuals (including students, prisoners, and seniors) surrounding art and poetry. They held workshops and presentations and published material.

The Theater of Universal Images was a theater group which ran out of Symphony Hall during the 1980s. A Day in the Life of Newark was created in 1987 by two organizers, Eddie Johnson Jr. and Mansa K. Mussa. The project aimed to document “a day in the life of Newark”. They worked with various groups and community members in Newark and the project culminated with the publication of “Newark, a day in the city: a photo documentary” in 1988.

Henrietta Parker was born and raised in Newark. She worked as a film and television producer and is a longtime member of the Friends of the James Brown African American Room. Much of the material was given to her by Anne Gadson-Brown.

Anne Gadson Brown (later Anne Brown Cheatam) was a founder of Urban Voices. She was honored with a 1982 Positive Image Award.

Other names in the collection include Mansa K. Mussa who continues to be an artist and arts educator in the Newark area and Alma Flagg the first female African American principal in Newark.


.42 Linear Feet (1 Hollinger box)

Language of Materials



The bulk of this collection is material on Urban Voices an African American poetry group in the Newark area. It also contains material on the “Newark, a day in the city” photography project and other miscellaneous Newark events.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Henrietta Parker, 2017 (deed of gift received 2018).

Related Materials

Related materials in the CFCNJIC:

  1. Newark, a day in the city : a photo documentary, NJ Ref 779.9974932 N42
  2. Urban Voices, journal 1987 / [Mansa K. Mussa, editor & graphic designer] NJ Ref 811.54080896 Ur12
  3. Poetry (Urban Voices, 1982) NJ Ref 811.5408 P75
  4. NJ Ref: MG Nwk Theaters (Theater of Universal Images)
  5. NJ Ref: Newark Posters Collection (Theater of Universal Images)
  6. Special Collections: Fine Prints Collection (art by Mansa K. Mussa)
  7. My Newark Story Activity Book (art by Mansa K. Mussa) NJ Ref 974.932 M9906

Separated Materials

Ms. Parker also donated issues of Grafrica, a newspaper focused on African American life, specifically art. These have been digitized at and will be reintegrated into the periodical collection. Poetry by James Brown, librarian, has been relocated to Librariana Box St16.

Processing Information

Material was received in no order. It was arranged by type, with a few subjects separated out. Folders are arranged chronologically by start date. Further processing could be done on the folders of poetry as they are arranged in any way, and they are an interesting look into poetry by African American writers from Newark.

Beth Zak-Cohen
Language of description
Script of description
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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