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East Orange was originally incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 4, 1863, from portions of Orange town, and was reincorporated as a city on December 9, 1899, based on the results of a referendum held two days earlier.
A reminder of East Orange's former wealth. The Ambrose-Ward Mansion was built in 1898 for a book manufacturer, now the home of the African-American Fund of New Jersey
East Orange is officially divided into five wards, but is also unofficially divided into a number of neighborhoods.
Ampere: Anchored by the now defunct train station of the same name, The Ampere section was developed on land owned by Orange Water Works, after the construction of the Crocker Wheeler Company plant spurred development in the area. The station was named in honor of André-Marie Ampère, a pioneer in electrodynamics and reconstructed as a new Renaissance Revival station in 1907 and 1908. Roughly bounded by Bloomfield to the North, Lawton Street & Newark to the east, 4th Avenue to the south, and North Grove Street to the West.
Greenwood (Teen Streets): So named after Greenwood avenue and the "teen" streets that run through it. It is often grouped together with Ampere. This area was severely disturbed by the construction of Interstate 280 and the Garden State Parkway. The Grove Street Station of the former DL & W Railroad was located here at Grove and Main Streets. Roughly bounded by 4th Avenue to the North, North 15th Street/Newark to the East, Eaton Place/NJ TransitMorris & Essex Lines, and North Grove Street to the West.
Presidential Estates: Recently designated due to the streets in this area being named after early presidents of the United States. There are many large houses situated on streets lined with very old, very large shade trees in this neighborhood that are characteristic of the northern section of the city. Roughly Bounded by Bloomfield to the North, Montclair-Boonton Line and North Grove Street to the East, Springdale Avenue to the South and the Garden State Parkway to the West.
Elmwood: Located in the southeastern part of the city. Elmwood Park serves this section of the city, with 7 tennis courts on Rhode Island Avenue, a basketball court on the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Oak Street, a swimming pool with a pool house, a walking track, a baseball field, a softball field and a renovated field house. The area holds one of the surviving Carnegie Libraries, the Elmwood Branch of the East Orange Public Library, opened in 1912.
Doddtown (Franklin): Named after John Dodd who founded and surveyed the area of the "Watsessing Plain". The former campus of Upsala College is located here. It was converted into the new East Orange Campus High School on the east side of Prospect Street, and an adjacent new housing subdivision. Roughly bounded by Bloomfield to the North, the Garden State Parkway to the south, Park Avenue to the South and Orange to the west.
There were 24,945 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 23.3% were married couples living together, 29.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.9% were non-families. 35.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.0 years. For every 100 females there were 81.2 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 75.4 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $40,358 (with a margin of error of +/- $1,873) and the median family income was $50,995 (+/- $2,877). Males had a median income of $38,642 (+/- $1,851) versus $39,843 (+/- $2,187) for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,298 (+/- $746). About 17.8% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.5% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.
A pre-WWII apartment on South Munn Avenue in East Orange.
There were 26,024 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.0% were married couples living together, 28.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.37.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 30.1% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 81.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,346, and the median income for a family was $38,562. Males had a median income of $31,905 versus $30,268 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,488. About 15.9% of families and 19.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.7% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those ages 65 or over.
As part of the 2000 Census, 89.46% of East Orange's residents identified themselves as being Black or African American. This was one of the highest percentages of African American and Caribbean American people in the United States. Migrants from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Haiti and other smaller Caribbean Islands have a huge presence, and East Orange has the second-highest in New Jersey (behind Lawnside, at 93.6%) of all places with 1,000 or more residents identifying Black American ancestry. East Orange also has a large Haitian American community, with 2,852 persons claiming Haitian ancestry in the 2000 Census.
Although still a small percentage of total residents, Orange and East Orange have the largest concentrations of Guyanese Americans in the country. In the 2000 Census, 2.5% of East Orange residents identified as being of Guyanese ancestry. While Queens and Brooklyn had larger populations in terms of raw numbers, Orange (with 2.9%) and East Orange had the highest percentage of people of Guyanese ancestry of all places in the United States with at least 1,000 people identifying their ancestry.
Central Avenue Commercial Historic District
Portions of East Orange are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone, one of 27 zones in the state. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (versus the 6.625% rate charged statewide, effective January 1, 2018) at eligible merchants. Established in 1996, the city's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in June 2027.
East Orange is governed under the City form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a mayor and a city council made up of ten members, two representing each of the city's five geographic political subdivisions called wards. The mayor is elected directly by the voters. The ten members of the city council are elected to four-year terms on a staggered basis, with one seat in each ward coming up for election every other year.
The City Council performs the legislative functions of municipal government by enacting ordinances, resolutions or motions, and is responsible for review and adoption of the municipal budget that has been submitted by the mayor.
1st Ward: Amy Lewis (D, 2019) and Christopher D. James (D, 2021)
2nd Ward: Jacquelyn E. Johnson (D, 2019) and Romal D. Bullock (D, 2021)
3rd Ward: Quilla E. Talmadge (D, 2019) and Bergson Leneus (D, 2021)
4th Ward: Casim L. Gomez (D, 2019) and Tyshammie L. Cooper (D, 2021)
5th Ward: Mustafa Al-M. Brent (D, 2019) and Alicia Holman (D, 2021)
The first African-American Mayor of East Orange, New Jersey was William S. Hart Sr., who was elected to two consecutive terms, serving in office from 1970 to 1978. Hart Middle School was named after him.
Federal, state and county representation
East Orange is located in the 10th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 34th state legislative district.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 36,280 registered voters in East Orange, of which 21,646 (59.7%) were registered as Democrats, 396 (1.1%) were registered as Republicans and 14,228 (39.2%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 10 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 98.5% of the vote (24,862 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 1.3% (330 votes), and other candidates with 0.2% (46 votes), among the 25,375 ballots cast by the city's 39,668 registered voters (137 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 64.0%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 97.7% of the vote (24,718 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 1.6% (408 votes) and other candidates with 0.1% (35 votes), among the 25,304 ballots cast by the city's 36,891 registered voters, for a turnout of 68.6%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 93.2% of the vote (19,447 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 5.9% (1,225 votes) and other candidates with 0.4% (128 votes), among the 20,856 ballots cast by the city's 33,328 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 62.6.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 88.0% of the vote (9,413 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 11.3% (1,212 votes), and other candidates with 0.7% (75 votes), among the 11,269 ballots cast by the city's 41,016 registered voters (569 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 27.5%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 94.4% of the vote (12,554 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 2.9% (380 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 1.2% (153 votes) and other candidates with 0.5% (63 votes), among the 13,295 ballots cast by the city's 36,157 registered voters, yielding a 36.8% turnout.
As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's 20 schools had an enrollment of 9,709 students and 867.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 11.20:1. Schools in the district (with 2011-12 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are
Althea Gibson Early Childhood Academy (171 students; in grades PreK and K),
Wahlstrom Early Childhood Center (167; PreK-K),
Benjamin Banneker Academy (491; PreK-5),
Edward T. Bowser Sr. School of Excellence (719; PreK-5),
George Washington Carver Institute of Science and Technology (417; PreK-5),
Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Academy (254; K-5),
Mildred Barry Garvin School (350; PreK-5),
Whitney E. Houston Academy of Creative & Performing Arts (436; PreK-8),
Langston Hughes Elementary School (562; PreK-5),
J. Garfield Jackson Sr. Academy (288; K-5),
Ecole Touissant Louverture (309; PreK-5),
Gordon Parks Academy School of Radio, Animation, Film and Television (313; PreK-5),
Cicely L. Tyson Community Elementary School (509; PreK-5),
Dionne Warwick Institute of Economics and Entrepreneurship (453; PreK-5),
Patrick F. Healy Middle School (420; 6),
John L. Costley Middle School (453; 7),
Sojourner Truth Middle School (459; 8),
Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts (863; 6-12),
East Orange Campus High School located on the former campus of Upsala College (1,876; 9-12),
East Orange STEM Academy (199; 9-12),
Fresh Start Academy Middle School - Glenwood Campus (6-8) and
Fresh Start Academy High - Edmonson Alternative (9-12).
The Garden State Parkway passes through the city, connecting Newark in the south to Bloomfield in the north. The Parkway is accessible at Interchange 145 for Interstate 280 and at Interchange 147 for Springdale Avenue.Interstate 280 crosses the city from east to west, connecting Orange to the west and Newark to the east.
Local transportation around the city and into neighboring communities is provided by ONE Bus bus routes 24 & 44 and multiple NJ Transit public bus lines, which includes routes 5, 21, 34, 41, 71, 73, 79, 90, 92, 94, and 97.
^ abGeneral Information, Essex County, New Jersey. Accessed June 10, 2018. "The County Executive, elected from the County at-large, for a four-year term, is the chief political and administrative officer of the County.... The Board of Chosen Freeholders consists of nine members, five of whom are elected from districts and four of whom are elected at-large. They are elected for three-year concurrent terms and may be re-elected to successive terms at the annual election in November."
^Bloom, Harold. "James Blish: 1921-1975", Science fiction writers of the golden age, p. 63. Chelsea House, 1995. ISBN0-7910-2199-8. "James Blish 1921-1975 James Benjamin Blish was born on May 23, 1921, in East Orange, New Jersey, the only child of Asa Rhodes Blish and Dorothea Schneewind Blish."
^Staff. "Aide Named for Ackerman", Columbia Spectator, Volume LV, Number 62, January 6, 1932. Accessed November 6, 2017. "Mr. Brucker, who has traveled extensively in Europe and served on the staffs of several papers and magazines in this country, is a native of Passaic, N. J., where he was born Oct. 4, 1898. He prepared for college at the Morristown School and the East Orange High School."
^Schwaneberg, Robert. "Education building honors a champion: Rights lawyer Carter argued Brown case"Archived 2008-12-01 at the Wayback Machine, copy of article from The Star-Ledger, November 21, 2006, at the Warren County Education Association. Accessed March 5, 2012. "Almost 54 years ago, Robert L. Carter stood before the U.S. Supreme Court and argued that segregated schools can never be equal.... Yesterday, the Trenton building that houses the state Department of Education was dedicated in honor of Carter, who grew up in Newark and East Orange and is now a federal judge in New York.... Born in Florida, Carter was 6 weeks old when his family moved to Newark. He attended Barringer High School in Newark and East Orange High School, graduating at age 16 after skipping two grades."
^Troy CLE, The Tavis Smiley Show, September 7, 2007. Accessed November 29, 2007. "A native of East Orange, NJ, CLE has worked as a student teacher in the NYC public school system and as a hip-hop producer."
^"Sports", Colby Alumnus, Vol. 45, No. 3: Spring 1956, p. 18. Accessed January 2, 2018. "Born in East Orange, New Jersey, Clifford lived in New Haven from 1929-1939, graduating from Wilbur Cross High School."
^Davey, Randall, Columbus Museum. Accessed July 11, 2019. "Born in East Orange, New Jersey, Randall Davey became an influential figure in early 20th century art including the art community of Santa Fe. He became a painter of portraits, still lifes, nude figures, and horse-racing genre."
^Braziler, Zach. "NJ player goes from unknown quantity to Eagles starter", New York Post, September 23, 2017. Accessed November 6, 2017. "A year ago at this time, Rasul Douglas was an unknown college football player.... A baseball and basketball player growing up in poverty-stricken East Orange, N.J., he played just two years of varsity football at East Orange Campus High School, and because of academic problems, went to Nassau Community College on Long Island."
^Staff. "Mattituck", The Long Island Traveler Mattituck Watchman, June 21, 1945. Accessed May 14, 2016. "Captain and Mrs. Philip Egner of East Orange, N. J., have been guests at the home of their cousin, Mrs. Alvah S. Mulford on the Main Road. Capt. Egner, before retiring, was at West Point twenty-five years."
^McFadden, Robert D."Carolyn Heilbrun, Pioneering Feminist Scholar, Dies at 77", The New York Times, October 11, 2003. Accessed March 1, 2012. "Carolyn Gold Heilbrun was born on Jan. 13, 1926, in East Orange, N.J., the only child of Archibald Gold, an accountant, and Estelle Roemer Gold, who, her daughter would recall, 'sat at home and was bored out of her mind.' The family moved to Manhattan when Ms. Heilbrun was 6, and she became a voracious reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton mysteries and, as a teenager, the novels of Virginia Woolf and Willa Cather."
^Farrell, Mary D. "France Cox Henderson", Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed November 4, 2014. "In the last years of her life she was busy as a community leader in East Orange, New Jersey. She established the House of the Good Shepherd for aged and invalid women and a laundry for older women who were able to work."
^Stetler, Carrie. "What happened to Whitney?"Archived 2011-06-29 at the Wayback Machine, The Seattle Times, March 22, 2004. Accessed January 23, 2011. "Houston was born in Newark, N.J., and reared in East Orange, the daughter of acclaimed gospel/soul singer Cissy Houston, who sang backup for everyone from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley."
^Staff. "Interview With Karen Hunter Of SiriusXM", Hip NJ, March 29, 2016. Accessed December 10, 2018. "Karen was born and raised in East Orange, New Jersey. She attended Catholic school before studying at Drew University in Madison, NJ."
^Reinhard, Paul. "Anything Is Possible For Jarrod", The Morning Call, July 30, 1991. Accessed October 24, 2011. "Well, by the time he graduated from Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, N.J., Johnson had blossomed into a 243-pound center. 'It's good I didn't gain another 100 pounds between my freshman and senior years in college,' he quipped yesterday during a telephone conversation. Johnson, an East Orange, N.J., native who as a young boy rooted for the Pittsburgh Steelers after watching them win Super Bowl IX, became an outstanding center at Lehigh University."
^Brevin Knight, New Jersey Sports Heroes. Accessed June 3, 2015. "Brevin Adon Knight was born November 8, 1975 in Livingston. He grew up in East Orange, and was the first of two accomplished basketball players in the family. Brandin, six years younger, also played pro ball."
^Derby, George; and White, James Terry. The National Cyclopædia of American Biography, p. 55. Accessed November 16, 2017. "McCarroll, Marion Clyde, columnist, was born in East Orange, N. J., May 8, 1891, daughter of James Renwick Thompson and Helen Fredericks Stoughton (Loomis) McCarroll."
^Norris, Chris. "Pop Goes the Ghetto", New York (magazine), June 19, 1995. Accessed September 11, 2011. "Treach - Naughty's machete-wielding, padlock-and-chain-wearing lead rapper - was drawing lines in his lyrics between Them and Us, set in a musical backdrop that erased them. And with that - and two more giant-selling singles - three kids from the slums of East Orange, New Jersey, became a pop band."
^Newman, Melinda. "Naturi's a Natural", New Jersey Monthly, December 8, 2008. Accessed September 19, 2012. "East Orange native Naturi Naughton plays rapper Lil' Kim in a film about the life of hip-hop artist Notorious B.I.G., which opens Jan. 16."
^Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey, Volume 164, p. 278. J.A. Fitzgerald, 1940. Accessed November 6, 2017. "C. Milford Orben (Rep., Millburn) - Mr. Orben was born In Newark, New Jersey, on June 28, 1808; son of Charles S. and Mabel Orben. Educated East Orange Grammar and High Schools, Pennsylvania State College."
^"Schettino Reaches Goal of Every Judge", Asbury Park Press, January 20, 1959. Accessed November, 2017. "The Supreme Court nominee was born in East Orange, son of the late Joseph and Maria Schettino. After his graduation from East Orange High School and Rutgers University, he went to Columbia Law School where he received hli law degree in 1933."
^Tom Verducci Archive, Sports Illustrated, backed up by the Internet Archive as of March 20, 2015. "Born in East Orange, New Jersey, and raised in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Verducci led his high school football team to a state championship, calling his catch of the winning touchdown pass in the title game as the defining sports moment of his life."
^Hu, Winnie. "For a Singer's 1940s Alma Mater, a 21st-Century Gift", The New York Times, September 21, 2010. Accessed September 11, 2011. "Once a neighborhood school called Lincoln, it was renamed for Ms. Warwick, a winner of five Grammy awards, in 1996 after becoming a theme school for business. Ms. Warwick attended the school, which now draws students from across the district, in the late 1940s."
^Staff. "Mystery Plot: Whodunit in Newark?", The New York Times, August 26, 1994. Accessed February 6, 2012. "Ms. Wilson Wesley grew up in Ashford, Conn., and now lives in Montclair, N.J., with her husband and two daughters. But she lived in nearby East Orange in the early 1970s, and Tamara's yellow-and-green Cape Cod is modeled on her old house."