City Council President Mildred Crump Resigns, Her Son Is Sworn-in to At-large Seat

Crump became the first African American woman elected to council in the city's 336-year history in 1994 and was sworn in on July 1, 1994. In 2006, after winning a councilwoman at-large seat, she again made history when the council elected her as the first female president of the City Council.

As a longtime community leader, Crump had advocated for women, children, senior citizens, the disabled, working families and those in need. Upon her resignation, she said she hopes her years of public service and role on the City Council will set an example for others to follow in her footsteps. 

“I have always worked with integrity, remained transparent and had an open-door policy,” Crump said in her letter. “I hope that my service has inspired generations of women and young people to be involved in the electoral process. I hope that some young woman knows that she can also be the first woman to hold a position and make a difference.” 

Following the announcement of her resignation, many of the council members voiced their kind remarks for Crump’s time and service in city government and the community. 

“Today is a day of sadness in many ways because Mildred and I started together. We made history in the city of Newark,” said Council Vice President Luis Quintana. “No one believed there could be an African American female elected official in the city. In 1994, her and I became a dual team: the first African American female in the city council’s history, Mildred Crump, and I became the first Puerto Rican to serve in the city of Newark as a councilperson at-large.”

A female councilperson herself and close friend of Mildred, Central Ward Councilwoman LaMonica McIver was audibly upset and full of emotion to see the president step down. 

“I want to thank Council President Crump for everything that she has done for me - for her guidance and everything that she has taught me. It has definitely been a pleasure to serve with her and serve under her,” said McIver. “For me being a young African American woman in the city, I have big shoes to fill and follow behind. It’s very important and very sentimental to me. I can only hope and pray to be as good of a public servant like President Crump one day.” 

“She was definitely a mentor in my life,” said South Ward Councilman John Sharpe James. “I look forward to having Larry serve out her remaining term. Her family definitely had a significant impact on my mentorship. I am very fond and praise Council President Crump, and we will always be here for her and her family.”

“My office has been next to Councilwoman Crump for seven years, and she has been a mentor and a friend,” said West Ward Councilman Joseph McCallum. “Hearing that she is resigning, and not necessarily on her own terms, is very hurtful. But we will continue to pray for her and wish her the very best.” 

“I want to wish Council President Crump a quick and full recovery because we can again enjoy her company,” said Council Member At-large Carlos Gonzalez. “We have been serving together since 2006, and I’m very proud and very fortunate to have served with Mildred Crump in the council.” 

Shortly after Louis read Crump’s letter into the record, Quintana made a motion to nominate Larry Crump, Mildred’s son, to fill the vacant seat for the remainder of her term. The motion was seconded by McIver and passed by the council with a unanimous vote. 

Following Larry Crump's appointment to the council, Gonzalez made a motion to nominate Quintana as president. The motion was seconded by McIver and passed by the council with a unanimous vote. 

Born in Detroit, Crump graduated from Wayne State University where she was the recipient of the David D. McKenzie Honor Society Award as the “Most Outstanding Female Student for Leadership and Scholarship.” 

She established herself in Detroit, becoming the city’s first African-American braille teacher. When she moved to New Jersey in 1965, she became the first African American braille teacher in the state. She received her master’s degree in public administration from Rutgers University-Newark. 

After witnessing the 1967 civil disturbances that tore Newark's civic fabric apart, Crump eventually chose to enter public life through politics, augmenting her service as a teacher. Crump first won a seat on the city council in 1994, becoming the first Black woman to win a citywide election in Newark, New Jersey's largest city. She gave up her council seat in 1998 to run for mayor, finishing third behind then-incumbent Mayor Sharpe James and State Sen. Ronald Rice. 

Crump would return to the council in triumph in 2006 as part of Cory Booker's victorious slate when he was first elected Newark's mayor. She was then successively elected to the council in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018. Crump is the first woman to be named council president, originally holding the position from 2006 to 2010. In November 2013, she again became the council's president, keeping the position after the 2014 municipal elections that resulted in Ras Baraka becoming Newark's mayor.

As a Newark resident, she has been involved with numerous organizations, including president and member of the Board of Trustees for Integrity House, Inc.; vice-chairperson of the Steering Committee of the Bridge to Recovery; charter member of the African-American Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.; and subscribing Golden Heritage Life Member of the Newark Branch NAACP. 

She was also a founding member of the New Jersey Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc.; the National Political Congress for Black Women of Newark; and the Global Women’s Leadership Collaborative of New Jersey, an organization dedicated to “sisterhood” issues with women in Africa. 

She retired in 2003 after 42 years as a braille teacher and education consultant from the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. 

Crump is a particularly compelling character on the Technicolor stage that is Newark politics. She is well-known for her witty and pithy comments both in the meeting rooms of City Hall as well as out in public with her constituents, always vibrantly dressed with an especially memorable and impressive array of hats. 

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-08-25 03:15:25 -0700