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Our History

The Legislative Black Caucus is committed to utilizing the full constitutional power, statutory authority, and legislative influence to ensure, insofar as possible, that everyone in New Jersey has an opportunity to thrive. 


Since its inception, the NJLBC has been committed to improving the lives of the often forgotten communities and populations and tackling state instituted systems of inequity.


First African-American man elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1920 and served as speaker in 1921: Walter G. Alexander I 


Wynona Lipman was elected New Jersey’s first Black woman state senator.


First African-American man elected as Speaker of the General Assembly: S. Howard Woodson 


First African-American woman elected to the New Jersey General Assembly: Madaline A. Williams (1957) the first African-American woman elected to either house of the state legislature


Assemblyman George C. Richardson D-Essex – the assistant Assembly Minority Leader announced he was inviting the 1972 Assembly’s six other black lawmakers to a meeting this morning in New Brunswick to discuss setting up a New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus.


Assemblyman Ronald Owens, Willie Brown and Eldridge Hawkins of Essex County said, “If a Black is not elected to a leadership post they would form the first Black Caucus in New Jersey legislative history.”


New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus is established. 


Founding Members:

  • Founding Chair - Assemblyman Willie Brown

  • Senator Wynona Lipman 

  • Assemblywoman Mildred Barry Garvin

  • Assemblyman Eugene Thompson

  • Assemblyman Charles Mays


The first Black Legislative Day was hosted by the New Jersey Black Issues Convention in the NJ Statehouse. James “The Godfather of Soul” appeared briefly and was presented with a citation on the floor of the Assembly.


The New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus registered 6,000 new voters in the Asbury Park/Neptune area over a three year period.


The Legislative Black Caucus’ delivered its first alternative, State of the State message and presented their legislative priorities to Governor Brendan Byrne, Senate President Joseph Merlino and Assembly Speaker Christopher Jackman


The New Jersey Assembly passed the bill that removed the NJ pension from all stock in companies with South African ties.  The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Willie Brown in protest of apartheid.


First African-American woman elected as Speaker of the General Assembly: Sheila Oliver 

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