BLACK HISTORY MONTH IN NJ: We Salute Former Congressman Donald M. Payne

Donald Milford Payne was an American politician who was the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 10th congressional district from 1989 to 2012.

Rep. Payne was first elected to the House in 1988, taking over the seat that had previously been held for 40 years by Peter W. Rodino. The district encompassed parts of Jersey City, Elizabeth and Rep. Payne’s home town of Newark, according to a published report written by Matt Schudel of the Washington Post.

Payne was born in Newark and was a 1952 graduate of Barringer High School. He did his undergraduate studies at Seton Hall University, graduating in 1957. After graduating, he pursued post-graduate studies at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

Matt Schudel said Rep. Payne was a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, and a past chairman of its Africa and global health subcommittee, He was among the first public officials to denounce mass killings in the Darfur region of Sudan as “genocide.”

In 2003, President George W. Bush appointed Payne as one of two members of Congress to serve as a Congressional delegate to the United Nations and reappointed him in 2005 to an unprecedented second term. In this role, he met with the U.N. Secretary-General, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and regularly attended sessions of the U.N. General Assembly and other high-level meetings.

Payne served on the board of directors of the National Endowment for Democracy, TransAfrica, Discovery Channel Global Education Fund, the Congressional Award Foundation, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newark, the Newark Day Center, the Fighting Back Initiative and the Newark YMCA.

Payne announced in a statement on February 10, 2012, that he was undergoing treatment for colon cancer. On March 2, 2012, it was reported that Payne had been flown from a hospital in Washington D.C. back to New Jersey via a medical transport plane because he was "gravely ill." Payne died four days later, at aged 77.

INFORMATION & IMAGE CREDIT: Wikipedia, The Washington Post

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