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Department of State

New Jersey Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Lt. Governor and Secretary of State
New Jersey Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission


New Jersey Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative: The Fierce Urgency of Now

New Jersey Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative: The Fierce Urgency of Now

On Sunday, January 16th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the New Jersey Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission will be presenting “The Fierce Urgency of Now.”

This year’s program will include Secretary of State Tahesha Way, a round table discussion on health disparities, musical performances and special announcements, all of which will honor the life and legacy of Dr. King.

This is a FREE event and is open to the general public. So invite your friends, families, colleagues, neighbors, and those who may be interested in attending an event that reminds us that justice, equality, and peace are attainable.

The New Jersey Martin Luther King Jr. Commission continuously works to raise public awareness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ideals and philosophy.

Strategizing and Mobilizing For Impact- Nonviolence365 Virtual Experience

Strategizing and Mobilizing For Impact- Nonviolence365 Virtual Experience

Join the King Center for ActivateU: The College Edition.
ActivateU is a three day virtual experience where attendees learn to understand and apply nonviolence today for societal, cultural, and personal transformation. This interactive virtual experience is tailored for all college students

Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence is relevant, powerful, and strategic for challenging and changing unjust ideologies, policies, systems, and practices. For more details and scholarship information visit

MLK Strategic Planning Retreat

MLK Strategic Planning Retreat


On August 4, 2021, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission held its strategic planning retreat at Mercer County College Conference Center. (Left to Right: Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, Rev. Jack Johnson, Pastor Bernadette Glover, Bahiyyah Abdullah, Wanda Sims, Rowena Madden, Charles Menifield, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson and Chair George Guy, Jr. Also in attendance, via Zoom: Al-Tariq Best, Geraldine Clark, Stephenine Dixson and Yvette Donaldson.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission at Essex County’s dedication at their Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Building

Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission at Essex County’s dedication at their Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Building

On Thursday, June 17, 2021, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission was invited to the Essex County Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Building and Statue Dedication in Newark. Federal, state, county and local elected officials were joined by about 100 attendees to unveil the new $77 million building on MLK Boulevard during the unveiling of the new facility which will house courtrooms for tax and general equity courts, as well as various county offices. While 22-foot statute of Dr. King stands outside, a bronze bust of U.S. Congressman John Lewis is displayed on the first floor of the building.

Urban League of Essex County Mourns Passing of Vernon Jordan

Vernon Jordan

The Urban League of Essex County is mourning the loss of Vernon Jordan, former President of the National Urban League.

I met Vernon Jordan when he came to Newark to speak at Rutgers Law School, a few years ago.

When I introduced myself he was genuinely interested in what the organization had been doing. He shared a few big fights that took place within during his tenure at the National Urban League. He recalled with fondness that he had visited our offices and that he had been very proud of our partnership with IBM that had prepared so many peopled in early digital skills first as keypunch operators and then with PC skills when the first PCs were introduced.

In his talk he shared his personal story about growing up during segregation in Georgia which formed the basis for his book, Vernon Can Read. The cadence of his speech -- deep, baritone, slow, and southern was almost spellbinding. One word held you wanting until the next word was delivered. I came to the talk expecting to be engaged. What I didn't expect was the phone call I received the next morning.

"This is Vernon Jordan", he said. I recognized the voice. but I couldn't believe my ears. He went on to say how he had enjoyed meeting me the evening before and he wanted to offer his assistance if I ever needed it. He was glad to hear that the affiliate was doing well, he work offered his encouragement to keep pushing, and he reiterated the importance of the work to the advancement of racial progress. I was genuinely moved by his graciousness and thoughtfulness to reach out to me. We have a saying in the Urban League, "Once an Urban Leaguer, always an Urban Leaguer." I never called Mr. Jordan for advice and counsel, but I always knew that I could.

National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial issued the following statement in response to the passing of his predecessor, Vernon Jordan:

“The nation has lost one of its greatest champions of racial and economic justice. He was a transformational leader who brought the movement into a new era. He was a personal mentor and dear friend. His passing leaves a tremendous void that can never be filled.

“Vernon assumed leadership of the National Urban League at a crucial moment in history, after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act. The broad, legal goals of the 20th Century Civil Rights Movement had been achieved. His mission, as he saw it, was to empower Black Americans to realize the promise of these victories. In his words, “Black people today can check into any hotel in America, but most do not have the wherewithal to check out.”

“The exceptional poise and dignity with which he carried himself was just as striking as his impressive height. Born into an era when Black men were routinely addressed as “Boy,” Vernon’s mother pointedly nicknamed him “Man.” He honored her faith in him with his bravery, his grace, his brilliance and his excellence.

“The National Urban League would not be where it is today without Vernon Jordan. We have lost more than a leader; we have lost a brother. We send our prayers to his wife, Ann, his daughter, Vickee, and his entire family and extended family as we rededicate our commitment to his vision of justice and equality.”

-Courtesy of the Urban League of Essex County

NJ Black History Month 2021

Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Observance Committee &
The Teaneck Library Present
A Series of Black History Month Programs

Black History Month Banner

Microsoft presents

Black History Month 2021

Join us for the month of February to celebrate Black History Month!

In alliance with museums, cultural centers and historic sites all around the country, Microsoft Community is curating a customized series of immersive virtual experiences for K-12 Students.

Visit the series

“Youth, We Hear You!” On Monday, January 18, 2021, The State of New Jersey Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission hosted a Virtual Youth Conference in honor of Dr. King’s life and legacy. Through panels, workshops, and networking, the virtual conference highlighted key issues of justice, education, the global impact of Dr. King and the relevance of his message in these challenging times. Missed the conference? Take a look at the sessions and Make It a Day Online today!

Highlight of the 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative

MLK Painitng

A dramatic highlight of the 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative was the contribution of this extraordinary painting of Dr. King by the artist Aaron Fisher, who spoke at the event. This painting was a courtesy gift to The New Jersey MLK Commission, from Mercer County Freeholder Sam Frisby and the Capital City Area Black Caucus. Freeholder Frisby also arranged with the artist to provide a beautiful print of the painting to all attendees at the Commemorative. Freeholder Frisby is a member of the Commission, which expresses its great thanks for this unique and striking likeness of Dr. King.

Major Lakisha Hale-Earl and Sgt. Hilda GriggsJ

"At the 2020 Commemorative, Major Lakisha Hale-Earl recognized the extraordinary service of Sgt. Hilda Griggs who served in World War II as part of an African American unit of 855 women who were given an extraordinary mission overseas in England and France. You will be as surprised and moved by this long-overdue recognition of Sgt. Griggs, who is now age 96 and who attended and spoke at the Commemorative."

Major Lakisha Hale-Earl and Sgt. Hilda Griggs Bio

MLK Day of Service Event - Recovery Corps members

AmeriCorps Recovery Corps in Camden

The program serves those in recovery from opioid and other additions. These AmeriCorps members made and donated blankets for the Mother and Child homeless shelter.

From MLK Commissioner Geraldine Clark:

We had an awesome Dr. King program at my church yesterday. Our children recited Dr. King quotes, the history and facts of the King Holiday, and numerous other activities. They also, were asked to answer questions after each speaker. We printed photos of Dr. King with captions and after each child read, we put the photo on the poster, shown in the photo.

2020 MLK Day

MLK Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Paterson, NJ - Link -

The NJ Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission was invited to join the City of Paterson at a ribbon-cutting for the new Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park. Commissioners Theodora Lacey and Jamie Bland represented the Commission.

The King Year: Reflection in Action

AmeriCorps members came together to recognize the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. The members were encouraged to continue their leadership in their communities by a powerful speech from the Secretary of State, Tahesha Way. A panel discussion on “How Dr. King’s Message Inspired My Journey of Service” highlighted the morning followed by workshop sessions on Conflict Resolution, King Year Calendar of Service, Poverty, and Oratory: Speak Up! Speak Out!

2018 MLK 50th Anniversary

2018 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission Chair, Mr. George V. Guy, Jr., welcomes the audience to the 2018 Commemorative Event.

2018 MLK Commemorative Celebration

Edith M. Savage-Jennings
(1924 - 2017)

Edith M. Savage-Jennings

As we mourn the great loss of Mrs. Savage-Jennings we would like to recognize her work as a founding and lifetime member of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission, where she worked inexhaustibly to bring together people of all ages and backgrounds to raise public awareness of Dr. King’s ideals and philosophy. Mrs. Savage-Jennings was a civil rights icon whose influences will continue to be felt for generations to come.





The Children's March Videos:

Altanta History Center

History Channel


King and I:

New Jerseyans Reflect on the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in commemoration of his 90th Birthday

NJ Quotes on MLK

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