Newark Stories

In honor of this city's 350th Anniversary, we’re bringing you Newark’s stories — voices from unheard Newarkers… from the Ironbound to Weequahic to University Heights.

John O'Boyle

  

We're wrapping up our celebration of Newark's 350th Anniversary with a story from Sakina Pitts.

In 1990, Pitts was an 8th grader at Chancellor Elementary School in Newark.

And for most 8th graders, graduating elementary school is the beginning of their journey in figuring out what they want to be when they grow up.

This was definitely the case for Pitts, whose path paved its way back to her elementary school as its principal.

John O'Boyle

  

In the heart of the Ironbound section of Newark, in an old brick factory building, sits the Shifman Mattress Company. Shifman has been making mattresses by hand at that location for the past 123 years.

The work of hand-stitching mattresses is physically challenging, but many employees are loyal to the company and stay for decades.

John O'Boyle

  

The history of Newark is full of stories of the many housing projects that came to define the city. It's actually where the city got it's beloved nickname -- Brick City. Most of the projects are now a distant memory, either torn down or boarded up and abandoned. However, the people and the stories remain engrained in the fabric of the city.

Newark Stories: Bill May

Oct 26, 2016
John O'Boyle

  

Bill May has been photographing the worlds most famous jazz musicians for decades. He also taught music to children in Newark for forty years and retired as the district's Director of Artistic and performing arts.

He found inspiration early in his life from his father, Boyd Vernon May, a man of faith who was a working man by day, and musician by night.

Boyd Vernon May died in 1993.

John O'Boyle

Perched atop a hill on Martin Luther King Blvd in the heart of Newark’s central ward sits a soaring and powerful remnant of Newark’s rich history as an industrial giant, the famed Kruger-Scott Mansion.

The 26-room mansion, built in 1887 by German immigrant turned wealthy beer baron Gottfried Kruger, is one of the remaining symbols of the wealth that once permeated throughout the city.

In 1933, when Hitler came to power in Germany, there was a place on Springfield Avenue in Newark, called Schwaben-Halle, where Nazis used to gather.

But Newark had its own anti-Nazi groups along the same time.

One man, a boxer named Nat Arno was a strongman for one of the anti-Nazi groups. His friends and family - sister Rose Yannick, wife Ann Arno, and fellow boxers Dave Halper and Bernie Callatane - describe how Nat struck a powerful blow for Jewish families in Newark.

John O'Boyle

In the mid 1970s, Newark, New Jersey​-native Tracey Norman was the first African American transgender model to work in the beauty industry. She did so undetected.

Tracey graced the pages of fashion magazines all over the world including Essence​ and Vogue Italia​, and was best known for appearing on a box of Clairol​ hair color, before her outing nearly ended her career.

John O'Boyle

Khali Raymond​ is 17 years old, and he's has written six books. His experience in writing and self-publishing earned the recognition of Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka​, who hosted his first official book signing at City Hall.

Only a senior at East Side High School, Kahli already envisions a day where he'll be honored with a key to the city for his accomplishments. He sat down to talk about what life was like before he finished writing his first novel "The Ballad of Sidney Hill."

John O'Boyle

In honor of Newark, New Jersey​'s 350th Anniversary, we’re bringing you Newark Stories — voices from unheard Newarkers, from the Ironbound to Weequahic to University Heights.

Here we celebrate one of the oldest Irish pubs still operating not only in Newark, but in New Jersey. McGovern’s Tavern began serving the people of the central ward in 1936.

John O'Boyle

Rayvon Lisbon was born in 1989. When he was just six years old, he was separated from his mother and grew up moving from one foster home to the next. As a teenager in South Ward, he doubted his chances of getting out of high school, and barely let himself dream of attending college.

But in 2015, Rayvon graduated from Rutgers – Newark with a degree in Sociology.

Newark Stories: Charles Tally

Oct 7, 2016
John O'Boyle

In honor of Newark, New Jersey​'s 350th Anniversary, we’re bringing you Newark Stories — voices from unheard Newarkers, from the Ironbound to Weequahic to University Heights.

Here we revisit the glory days at Weequahic High School​ in 1966 and 1967.

68-year old Charles Tally was on the boys’s basketball team that won back to back state championships, the first time ever for a Newark high school.

John O'Boyle

In honor of this city's 350th Anniversary, we’re bringing you Newark’s stories — voices from unheard Newarkers, from the Ironbound to Weequahic to University Heights.

Today we’re heading to the North Ward, with a story from Mae Smith from 1982. That was the year that Newark first hired female police officers — just nine of them — to patrol the city. They faced skepticism and discrimination, but Mae stuck with it for 25 years. She recently sat down to talk about what those early years were like.

John O'Boyle

In honor of this city's 350th Anniversary, we’re bringing you Newark’s stories — voices from unheard Newarkers… from the Ironbound to Weequahic to University Heights. Our first is from a landmark restaurant, downtown.