My Historian, New Jersey’s Historian, Newark’s Historian. Anyone who’s written or read extensively about Newark knows his name.
Clement Price, a distinguished professor at Rutgers Newark, is a walking encyclopedia of city history and one of Newark’s most ardent boosters. He has been in the forefront of both historical events as well as art events. He has interviewed Newark Mayors, in review of his memoirs, to reviewing a forum on the late poet laureate Amiri Baraka’s “Blues People”. For all of those that love and long for the rich complex history of the countries third oldest city, Newark, you will find Dr. Price narrating historical events with descriptive colors and richness. Last week Dr. Price gave the audience at Rutgers Super Celebration of Jazz series (a complete article will be forth coming), the importance Jazz was to the fabric of Newark, and that Newark’s sizable inventory of Jazz music and recordings. Whether from the Public Library, Rutgers Jazz Institute, Jazz radio station WBGO, NJPAC, and Priory Restaurant, Jazz was engrained into the tapestry of Newark..
Since the passing of Charles F. Cummings, in 2005, the last official historian of Newark, Dr. Price has been our repository of Newark’s history.
In a quiet, unadvertised ceremony at City Hall last week, Mayor Luis Quintana made Clement Price the official city historian. For many, it is a distinction without a difference, but Price said he was humbled nonetheless.
“I am honored to be the city historian in the city in which I’ve lived half my life,” Price said in an interview Friday. “To succeed the great Charles Cummings as city historian is at once an honor and a privilege.”
Cummings, who died in 2005, was in charge of the Newark Public Library’s New Jersey Information Center and was the official city historian for many years.
Price was also named chairman of Newark’s 350th anniversary celebratory committee, which will manage events in the run-up to 2016 when the city celebrates its 1666 founding by Robert Treat and group of Puritan settlers.
“It will entail a working committee that would envision what Newark’s 350th anniversary should look like,” Price said. “How should the city’s long complicated and rich history be observed.”
Price, 68, is also the vice chairman of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. He lives in Newark’s Lincoln Park section with his wife, former Newark Museum director, Mary Sue Sweeney Price.