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Urban News Staff Reports

Coronavirus (COVID-19) claims the lives of two former Black politicians in New Jersey.

The first is former Hillside mayor and educator Sam McGhee who recently died from complications from coronavirus. He was 79.

McGhee was the first African-American mayor of Hillside when he was elected in 1988. He was a member of the Township Committee and also served on the Union County Improvement Authority, among other posts.

A noted educator, McGhee was a high school history teacher and 32 years as Dean of Admissions at New Jersey City University.

Former Jersey City Councilwoman Viola Richardson died from complications from coronavirus last week. Richardson served on the city council for 12 years from 2001 to 2013. She was first a Council Member of Ward F and then became Council Member at large.

Prior to going into politics Richardson was a police officer where she was elected the first female president of the Inter-Departmental Minority Police Action Council in Jersey City.

“I was saddened to learn of former Councilwoman Viola Richardson’s passing,” New Jersey U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez said in a statement. “She was an impassioned and principled fighter for what she believed in. I will always appreciate her long service and vigorous advocacy for the African American community. She will be deeply missed.”

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