New Jersey has been remembering Ken Gibson, four-term Newark Mayor and the first African American to serve as Mayor in any major city on the East Coast. Gibson died Friday at the age of 86.

"Mayor Ken Gibson was an incredible man. Newark wouldn’t be where it is today without his steady stewardship. As the first African American mayor of a major city here in the Northeast, he was a big inspiration for me and countless others," U.S. Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate, Cory Booker wrote on Twitter Friday.

"We lost a towering, inspirational figure to so many as well as a cherished mentor and friend for me and a generation of black elected officials and community leaders," Mayor Ras Baraka said in a written statement issued Sunday, which was titled "We just lost a giant."

Baraka also had issued a statement on Saturday, through the City of Newark.

"Ken Gibson was a trailblazer. He lead the charge and broke down barriers, he paved the way for those who came after him. My condolences are with his family and friends, may he rest in peace," New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney said on Twitter.

Gibson was elected as Newark’s first African American mayor in 1970, and was re-elected three more times, until 1986. He made two unsuccessful runs for New Jersey governor in 1981 and 1985.

“Today’s Newark has its foundation due to Mayor Gibson’s work,” Governor Murphy said. “Although we lost Mayor Gibson, his legacy will continue to live on. Tammy and I send our condolences to his wife, Camille, and his loved ones during this difficult time.”

Murphy also signed an Executive Order ordering flags to fly at half-staff to honor Gibson on Monday, April 1.


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