Newark, NJ

Congressman Donald M. Payne was the first African American to represent New Jersey in Congress when he was elected in 1989. A native of Newark, Payne was also the first Black president of the National Council of YMCAs in 1970. He first entered politics in in 1972, when he was elected to the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders serving three terms. Payne also served three terms on the Newark Municipal Council. During his nearly 25 years in Congress, Payne was a member of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs and was active on issues relating to Africa and was an advocate of education. Upon his death in 2012 while in office, his son Donald Payne Jr. was elected to his seat. 

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