In the fall of 2009, a coalition of concerned citizens, alumni, and preservationists headed by Marion Bolden, the former Newark Superintendent of Schools, established the Newark Public Schools Historical Preservation Committee. It was apparent to the group that the Newark Public Schools needed to honor its very rich heritage.

The school district is one of the oldest in the nation. Barringer High School is the third oldest public high school in the country. Prominent alumni have graduated from its schools and have never been properly recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to history.

Archives representing the history and culture of past generations are a meaningful part of today’s life experience and culture. This history must be made accessible to our students and the public. The archives represent our social, political, economic and cultural heritage. Historical documents and narratives should be developed and available to Newark students as part of the school district’s curriculum.

The district will need assistance with the preparation of policies and guidelines to complete the primary work of this committee. There are models in the district that can be replicated. Barringer High School’s archives have been preserved and the school has a designated archivist. Weequahic Alumni Association’s efforts can also serve as a model for replication.

Additionally, a place to archive the historically significant material in the schools and the central office should exist. It is also the group’s intention to share the history of the Newark Public Schools with students and the greater community.

Time is running out! The historians are aging and the time to capture as much of our history as possible is now. If the readers of this post have any artifacts and memorabilia to donate, please contact Marion Bolden at (973) 736-3270 or at npshpc@aol.com.

The Newark Public Schools Historical Preservation Committee is a 501(c)(3) organization that was established to chronicle the history, preserve documents, artifacts and school buildings.