The City of Newark has a new historian. Rutgers University Historian Clement Price told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that is an honor to be named Newark’s official historian following in the footsteps of Charles Cummings, who he considers a role model.
“That’s the legendary Charles Cummings — mentor, the quintessential librarian and archivist in Newark — and when Charles was with us, he was referred to as Newark’s first citizen,” said Price.
As Newark approaches its 350th anniversary in the next couple of years, Price said that he would like the city to know that age gives stature and that being old allows many more stories to be told. Newark’s complicated history it reveals that the city is tenacious and that its survival instincts are like no other city, said Price.
As the years have gone by, Price said that Newark is a transforming city and that the city’s population has shrunk from what it used to be. Given the city’s transformation, Price said, “Newark has a much brighter vision of its future than it has had over the last four years.”
Many people wrote off the city during the 1960s and 1970s and said that the city was dead, according to Price. Price said that he began to see glimmers of hope in the city around the 1980s and that it is starting to pay off for the city in the 21st century.
Black History Month is underway. Price said that the struggle for civil rights still exists and will continue.
“Civil rights is in our DNA,” said Price. “We will always struggle with it. It is not a chapter that will be closed. Every generation of Americans wants a fuller, deeper, measure of freedom and civil rights and justice than the previous generation. So that means that civil rights will always be with us. ”