Skip to main content

Barbara J. Kukla Papers

Identifier: MG Nwk Kukla

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the collected papers of Barbara J. Kukla, who has worked in Newark for over fifty years as an author and reporter. These materials were collected by Barbara, both through her work and for personal interest. Some of the significant topics represented in these files are: music, theater, poetry, fine arts, books, African-American heritage and history, African-American life, women’s issues, women’s history, public schools, charter schools, universities, colleges, religion (churches, pastors), politicians, elections, community groups, women’s groups, civil rights groups, and history. Most files focus on Newark, with some New Jersey and national information. The bulk of material covers the 1970s to the 2000s.

eries 1-6 contain paper materials, the majority of which are clippings, pamphlets, leaflets, event journals, and fliers. Series 7 contains photographs. Series 8, the oversized series, contains mostly paper copies of newspapers, as well as posters and paper materials.


  • Majority of material found within 1970 - 2012
  • 1901 - 2018


Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.

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

Biographical / Historical

Barbara J. Kukla was born in 1940 and grew up in North Arlington, New Jersey. Her interest in journalism began when she was 12 years old and started writing for The Viking Saga, the student newspaper paper at North Arlington High School, where she graduated in 1958. During her senior year, she was the paper's editor-in-chief.

After graduating Bloomfield College in 1963, she worked for the Bloomfield Independent Press and The Herald-News of Passaic before moving to The-Star Ledger, where she spent nearly 37 years, mostly as editor of the popular Newark This Week section. She also was the paper's Sunday city editor for seven years.

Early in her career, she interviewed Viola Wells, a famous Newark singer known as Miss Rhapsody who introduced her to many people in the Newark community, especially its jazz artists. Kukla's first book, Swing City: Newark Nightlife 1925-1950, published in 1990 by Temple University Press, is dedicated to Miss Rhapsody. Reissued as a paperback by Rutgers University Press in 2002, it is considered the authoritative work on the Newark jazz scene.

Since then, Kukla has written four more books and six calendars about prominent Newark people. They include: Defying the Odds: Triumphant Black Women of Newark; Sounds of Music: The Dolores Collins Benjamin Story; Newark Inside My Soul: A 50-Year Memoir and America’s Music: Jazz In Newark.

As a charter member of the Newark Public Schools Historic Preservation Committee, she also wrote the Newark Public Schools Directory of Distinguished Alumni in 2016. For many years, Kukla operated the Friends of Barbara Kukla Scholarship Fund, a group that raised $50,000 to aid Newark Public Schools children. She is a member of Bethany Baptist church. She has one daughter, Dashanta Faucette-Knight, and one granddaughter, LaFire Faucette.


11 Linear Feet (22 Hollinger boxes, 1 Paige box, 3 Oversized boxes) : Fileroom & Offsite

Language of Materials


Related Materials

Catalogued Books by Barbara Kukla:

• America's music : jazz in Newark (789.5009749 K958am)

• Defying the odds : triumphant black women of Newark (974.932 K958de)

• Newark inside my soul : a 50-year memoir ( 070.92 K958 Aa1ne)

• The Newark Public Schools : directory of distinguished alumni volume one (373.74932 N422di)

• Sounds of music : the Dolores Collins Benjamin story (782.5092 B438 K95so)

• Swing city : Newark nightlife, 1925-50 ( 789.5009749 K958 2002)

Catalogued Calendars by Barbara Kukla (as of December 2016, dup. in this collection):

• Rejoice! : Newark gospel greats (789.412254 K958re)

• Newark songbirds : jazz through the years (789.5009252 N42)

Other Materials:

• Newark stars on parade for Newark students / sponsored by the Friends of Barbara Kukla Scholarship Fund, Inc (378.34 N422)

• Title on spine: Neighborhood revitalization in Newark : perspectives and prospects. Title in catalog: Letter to Newark This Week (307.340974932 T79, letter to Barbara Kukla from Donald Tucker)

• “Trailblazers in 20th century Newark”, Newark History Society video with Barbara Kukla ( and in catalog)

Separated Materials

A number of materials were seperated and included into: NJ Ref Periodicals, MG Nwk Librariana, NJ Ref Books, City and Quasi Documents, NJ Ref City and CD and DVD collection, MG Nwk Prince, NJ Postcards Collection, NJ Poster Collection. See the accession file for a more detailed list of separated mateirals.

Appendix 1

The following list of names and organizations is incomplete as clippings and biography / place research files often cover many people or organizations . A) Name list (Partial)

Series 1a: Janice Harrison Aikens, Banks Brothers, Robert Banks, Banks Brothers, Dennis Bines, and the Revival Temple Mass Choir, WNJR / Bernice Bass, Madeline Bell, Delores Collins Benjamin, Clyde Bernhardt, Rev. Milton Biggham, Alberta Bradford, Alex Bradford, Delores Branch, Rev. Elton T. Byrd, Janice Carr, Jean Cheek, Linda Morton Clayton, Coleman Brothers, Crusade Choir, Alvin Darling, Cookie Price Drayton, Felicia Moss Eaton, Annette Evans, A. Curtis Farrow, Hattie Fields, Francine Finley, Gwen Nelson Fleming, Vincent Freeman, Frierson Brothers, Yvette Glover, Gospel Clefs, Donnie Harper, Sheldon Harris, Al Henderson, Drinkard Sisters / Cissy Houston, Nancy Jackson Johnson, Marie Knight, Donald Lambert, Dr. Albert J. Lewis, Jr., Anna Lundy Lewis, Donald Malloy, Stephanie Minatee & jubilation, Brenda Mitchell, Clem Moorman, Morgan Singers, Ann Drinkard Moss, Joshua Nelson, Cyndi Bell Pinkney, Irving Quebec, Sarah Vaughan, Connie Pitts - Sisters, Danny Rhodes, Lawrence Roberts, Tuell Sisters (Faye Adams), Ronnie Williams, Chink Wing, Rev. Peter Winstead,

Series 2a: William Ashby, Mary & Reynold Burch, MDs, Walter D. Chambers, Kenneth E. Peterson, Dr. Timothy Still, Charles Whigham , Connie Woodruff

Series 2b: Mary Smith and Mary Burch and Geraldine Foushee

Series 3: Dr. Alma E. Flagg, J. Thomas Flagg, Marion Bolden, Zachary Yamba Box 8, Folder 8: Elizabeth King, Anzella Nelms, Brenda Jack-Watkins, Franotie Washington, Jean D'Agostino, Gladys Hillman-Jones, Daisy Yarbrough, Deborah Terrell

Series 4a: Hugh Addonizio, Amiri Baraka/Leroi Jones, Gov. Brendan Byrne , John Caufield, Jimmy Carter, , Shirley Chisholm, Mildred Crump, Kenneth Gibson , Frank Hague. Anthony Imperiale, Sharpe James, Wynona Lipman, Donald Payne, George Richardson, Al Sharpton, Larrie Stalks, Craig A. Stanley, Donald Tucker, Calvin West , Harry Wheeler, Michael Bottone, Irvine Turner, Ronald Rice

Series 5: Rev John W. P. Collier Jr., Rev. Henry Cade, Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence C. Roberts, Rev. B. F. Johnson,

Series 6b: George Alford 2000, Brianna Allen 1997, James Aloupis 2006, Gladys Anderson 2007, Beatrice Anderson 2007, Raymond Andrews 1994, Esther Azure 2004, Alma Baeza 2011, Marie Bagby 2003, Marion Banks 2004, Amiri Baraka 2014, David Barker 1994, Beverly Barker 2008, Bernice Bass 2000, Julia Bates 2003, Talley Beatty 1996, Hajjah Daphne Bennard 2015, Brook Benton 1988, Anita Bland 2014, Gretta Louise Blanton 2011, Irvin Booker 2005, Doryce Bradley 1996, George Branch 2009, Carl Brinson 2015, Hadda Brooks 2002, Gertrude Brown 1991, Vernestine Bullock 2007, Ora Caldwelll 2015, Joyce Carter 2011, Mary Ann Carter 2004, Juanita Carter 2004, Benny Carter 2003, Doris Champion-Pitts 1992, Doc Cheatham 1997, Ronald Christian 2015, James Churchman 2014, Ada Harris Cole 2016, Rueben Cole 1975, Russell Coleman 1999, Anetta Coles 2005, Ellie Cooper 2009, Johnny Copeland 1997, Violet Cornelison 1994, Angelo Cortinas 1999, Bernice Cross 2011, Anna May Crumidy 2013, Charles Cummings 2008, Billy Daniels 1988, Theresa David 2004, Kandice Dickinson 2000, Hattie Dillahunt 2008, George Dittes 2004, Mary Elizabeth Dorsey 1991, Ann Drinkard-Moss n.d., Jamal Duke 2005, Thomas Eason 1993, Louise Epperson 2002, Millicent Fenwick 1992, Emma Fields 1989, Gail Fisher 2001, Alma Flagg 2018, Leslie Ford 2015, Gertrude Foushee 1997, Walter Fuller 1994, Wyman Garrett 2018, Bertha Gibson 1994, Muriel Gibson 1983, Althea Gibson 2003, Daniel Gibson 2000, Thelma Gillis 2003, Larry Goldston 2011, Dorothy Gould 2015, Gwendolyn Goldsby Grant 2018, Jerome Greco 1999, Jerome Greco 1999, Chuck Green 1997, Grace Gregory 2007, Carl Gregory 2009, Grace Gregory 2007, Thomas Guy 2002, Beatrice Hall n.d., Lawrence H. Hall 2004, Flora Hamlett 2014, Earl Harris 1988, Mildred Helms 2002, Jeanne Heningburg 1990, Verner Henry 2013, Eddie Heywood 1989, Wilnora Holman 1994, Rayshon Holmes 2003, Arthur Hooper 1998, Willie Belle Hooper 1999, Calvin Hughes 2006, Phyllis Hyman 1995, Nora Iroka 2007, Herb Jaffe 1995, Irene James 2006, Maxine James 2009, Norman Jeffries 2006, Wilbert Jeter 2000, C.B. Douglas Johnson 1999, Benjamin Johnson 1992, Charles W. Johnson 2011, Nora Johnson 2008, Evelyn M. Johnson 2011, Bernice Johnson 2001, Walter E. Johnson 2002, Earl L. Johnson 2002, Gail Y. Johnson 2015, Milton Jones 1999, Arthur Jones 1992, Milton Jones 1999, Anna Jones 1987, Alyce Jones-Simmons 2002, Barney Josephon 1988, Thomy Joyner 2014, Dorothy King 2009, Breya Knight 2016, Andrienne Knox 2003, Dorothy Kyle 2018, Joyce Lambe 2018, Dorothy Latta 2014, Zebedee Lawton 2000, William Lee 2008, Lucye Bell Harrington Lee 2000, Dorothea Lee 2007, Jeroline Lee 2002, Henry Lewis 1996, William Linder 2018, Clara Little 2009, Eddiemae Livingston 2016, Alma Love 2004, Chequita Lumzy-Wiggins 2009, Helen Mack 2018, Jesse Wendell Mapson 2007, Charles Matthews 1968, Eloise McDaniel 2003, Bessie McDonald 2004, Butterfly McQueen 1995, Carmen McRae 1994, James Melvin 1995, Harold Mitchell 1998, James Moody 2010, Annie Moore 2015, Bessie Morize 2001, John Moses 2006, Stanley Myers 2016, John Nickas 2008, Robert Nixon 2005, Red Norvo 1999, Timothy O'Brien 2005, John P. O'Rourke 1998, Walter O'Toole 1989, Marguerite Page 2009, Patricia Palmeri 2012, Thomas Parks 2003, James Parrott 1997, Terry Patrick 1995, Deloris Patterson 2000, Leonard de Paur 1998, Tony Peele 2004, Harold Van Pelt 2016, David Peniston 2009, Gwendolyn Perkins 2000, William H. Pitts 1990, Eloise Pitts-McDaniel 2003, Constance Pitts-Speed 1996, Nathaniel Potts 2016, Charles Powell 1994, Robert C. Queen 1996, Ernest Ransom 1994, Diana Reddick 2011, Dwayne Reeves 2005, Larence Curtis Roberts 2008, Betty Roche 1999, Rose Rollins 1989, Elena Scambio 2008, Beverly Scott 2011, Eugene Seals 2008, Woody Shaw 1989, (John) Henry Shorter 1989, Alyce Simmons 2002, Norman Simpson 2009, William G. Simpson 2007, Lucy Elliott Sims 1987, Shisizwe Sithebe 2007, Jabbo Smith 1991, Florence Braxton Smith 1998, VonCecile Smith 2013, John Franklin Smith 2000, J. Harry Smith 2001, James Snead 2003, Grace Spellman 1997, Larrie West Stalks 2015, Stephen F. Stalks 2011, Frederick Stalks 2002, Jerry Joe Stebbins 2011, Edna Sturm 1987, Maxine Sullivan 2015, Tally Talbot 1996, Hortense Tate 2003, Katherine Kitty Taylor 2008, Willis Taylor 2004, Millard Terrell 1986, Philip Thigpen 2013, Grace Smith Thomas 1989, Charles E. Thomas 2005, Curtis Everett Thomas 2005, Joseph Thomasberger 2018, Steven Anthony Tillman 1993, Aneatha Todd 1998, Charles Tolson 1990, Helen Townes 2012, Victor Turman 1989, Edward Verner 2008, Alma Waldon 2013, Harry Webber 1991, Elisabeth Welch 2003, Audrey West 2003, Janet White 2004, Leonard Wilkinson 2006, Frederick Isaac Williams 1990, Catherine Eleanor Williams 2009, Harold Chink Wing 1993, Stanley Winters 2011, Mary Grace Woodley 2004, Sam Woodyard 1988, Arem Irene Yearwood 1995, Geneva Turman Yuill 2004

Box 13, Folder 12 [partial]: Carleise Mason Eubanks, E. Mae McCarroll, Edyth Sydnor, Catherine Daly, Thelma Gillis, Mary Palmer Smith, Sarah Frierson (Armstrong), Lillian B. Stewart

Series 7: Keisha Knight Pulliam, Ralph Villani, Irvine Turner Box 15, Folder 4 [partial]: Robert Curvin, Charles Whigham, Walter Chambers

B) Organization list (Partial)

Series 1B: New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark Museum, Newark Public Library, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

Series 2: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Black United Fund, Black Women United for ACES, Do Something, Essex County Civic Club ,Essex-West Hudson Labor Council AFL-CIO, Frontier’s International Inc., Girl Scouts, The Leaguers, Masonic Temple (Bethany Lodge no. 31), NAACP, National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, National Council of Negro Women Inc., Newark Best Friends, Newark Circle of Sisters, The New-Ark Community Coalition, Newark Landmarks, New Jersey Federation of Colored Women's Clubs / National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, New Jersey State Association and Auxiliary of the I.B.P.o.E.W. (Elks), North Ward Educational and Cultural Center, One Hundred Black Men, Order of the Anvil, Quest Youth Services, United Way, Urban League of Essex County, We Care, WISOMMM, Inc. / African American Education and Cultural Resource Center, YMWCA, Zonta Club of Essex County. Box 6, Folder 16: Newark Emergency Services for Families, Community Agencies Corp. of NJ, the Com-bin-nations, People's Organization for Progress, West Ward Cultural Center, 3rd Ward Elites, National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers North Jersey Chapter, National Political Congress of Black Women, Ebony Business Men's Association, Atlantic City Business and Professional Women's Club, New Community Corp., the 22nd delegation, Friends of Ralph T. Grant Jr. Women's Auxiliary, Newark Community Center of the Arts, Operation Bread Basket, New Jersey Daily Newspaper Women Inc., United Community Corp, A Philips Randolph Institute, Project Re-Direct, The New Jersey Association of Black Social Workers, Human and Civil Rights Association of New Jersey, Senator Wynona Lipman Child Advocacy Center

Series 3: Newark Public Schools

Series 4B: City of Newark

Series 5: African Methodist Episcopal Church, Bethany Baptist Church, Central Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church of Nutley, The New Hope Baptist Church

Series 6: Newark Emergency Services for Families, Phenomenal Women Outreach Center

Processing Information

Some material was received in research files, other material was loose. Loose material was sorted and categories created as needed, research files were kept mostly in order, but rearranged as needed for ease of use. Several loose categories already existed (education, politics/government, music, churches) and these were used as a basis for 5 series of mixed materials and subject files, adding a miscellaneous series. These series were split into biographical and subject files (except Series 5 due to small size), with miscellaneous biographical material added to the last series. Glossy photographs and oversized materials were separated from all files and sorted by subject in alphabetical files in series 7 and 8. The 1995 James Baxter Terrace Journal was added from the CFCNJIC Collection, since many other issues of the journal were part of this collection, and the journal had little historical information.

An additional donation was made in 2018 including many more periodicals from Tiny Prince, which were moved to his collection MG Prince, more issues of the Newark Herald News, research files, and research binders, as well as some misc. material. It was interfiled, except for jazz research files which were added to a new box.

The jazz research consisted of several separated files (kept separate) as well as three alphabetical binders of notes/material by biographical name or place name. Material was removed from binder and placed in folders kept in order. Some unattached material at the start of the first binder was given its own folder. So, for example box 17, folder 5, contains the parts of the N-Z binder including Q-Sm and therefore would include such figures as Willie “The Lion” Smith. The second donation also included almost 60 cassette tapes of jazz research interviews, which were made into Series 9 and marked as staff access only due fragility. We hope to digitize these tapes in the near future.

Lastly the second donation included CDs which were separated to the audio collection and periodicals, separated to the periodical collection.

Upon second processing two documents “Order of the Anvil” and “Masonic Bethany Lodge 31”, and “"Biographical Sketches Posthumous Recognition” were missing. These were photocopied documents, not original and are available at MISSING objects were found after second processing and put back in original folders -- box 5/6 and 12/13 have some duplicate folders due to this discrepancy and need reprocessing.

Beth Zak-Cohen
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Revision Statements

  • 2018: Additional gift

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