By Michael Hill
Dr. Clement Alexander Price was a giant of a scholar, a pillar of civic pride and a champion of community unity, a distinguished history professor at Rutgers-Newark.
“He was the most galvanizing humane intellectual I’ve ever known,” said Chancellor Nancy Cantor.
Cantor recalls a meeting with Dr. Price about a downtown development project.
“And he’s launched in to a history of what Bamburgers and Hanes used to do and what would happen there and I’d go, ‘OK Clem, enough of the history lesson. We’re now on to the future.’ And he would say, ‘Oh Nancy, Nancy. History is the future,'” she relayed.
Dr. Price was Newark’s official historian.
“His demeanor has always one of calm and warmth. Always trying to bring people together as opposed to being divisive,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.
Dr. Price was born in D.C. but moved to Newark at one of its most tumultuous times — the 1967 riots.
“It ultimately changed the city to some extent for the worse. Newark, in many ways, did not recover from the riots,” said Dr. Price in a recording.
“He loved Newark with all his heart and all his soul,” Baraka said.
“What we will miss is his humor, his charm and his kindness,” said Newark Museum Director Steven Kern.
Kern succeeded Dr. Price’s wife — Mary Sue Sweeney Price — as director of the Newark Museum. The museum dedicated an atrium to Dr. And Mrs. Price. Kern says a towering atrium for a towering man.
“We’ve gained a civic voice and consciousness that he’s been responsible for. And so I take what he has given this city as a charge now that has to be maintained,” Kern said.
Dr. Price was a President Obama appointee to Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The council issued this statement: “His warmth, intelligence and wit flowed like a force of nature. He elevated the agency through the sheer power of his wisdom and character.”
Sen. Cory Booker says, “He was a chief architect of community unity and in so many ways helped create a Newark civic space that was more vibrant and more loving.”
Assemblywoman Teresa Ruiz says, “He knew intimately the history of Newark and the importance of sharing it with the world. We are all privileged to have known him and to have learned from him.”
State Senate President Steve Sweeney says, “He was an amazing man whose knowledge of Newark was surpassed only by his love of the city.”
And Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo describes Dr. Price as “Always a gentleman and willing to help. We know that when others write Newark’s history, they will include a chapter about our friend, Clement Price.”
Related: Newark Historian Clement Price Dies