Newark has renamed a major thoroughfare in memory of one of its most iconic figures.
All 3 miles of Broad Street will now be known as “Kenneth A. Gibson Boulevard” after the city’s first black mayor.
In 1970, Gibson became the first African American to lead any city in the Northeast, in the wake of civil disturbances three years earlier that left the town torn apart.
“By changing the name from Broad Street to Kenneth Allen Gibson Boulevard means that we made a turn in history,” current Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said Wednesday at the dedication ceremony. “That we’ve moved forward in history. That we moved past isolationism and segregation and hatred and oppression and moved to a place that Newark can be proud of. We have the first African American mayor that just didn’t represent African Americans, but represented the entire city of Newark and gave his life so that all Newarkers can benefit from the progress of this city that was founded in 1666 but came alive in 1970.”
Gibson, who served as mayor until 1986, has been credited with stabilizing the city’s finances, improving the health of its citizens and helping to put the town back on track.