Skip to main content

BLACK HISTORY MONTH IN NJ: We Salute Joshua Bryant


The following is a post obtained from The Cranford Police Department:

"Joshua Bryant was the first African-American elected to public office and law enforcement in the Township of Cranford, elected in 1881 and re-elected three times in 1883, 1887, and 1890. He served as constable longer than any other man in the nineteenth century, ten years between 1881-1893.

Joshua was born in Virginia in 1852 and came to Cranford at the age of about 21. In 1880 he married Margaret Taylor and the couple lived on Mulberry Street (present-day Retford Avenue) between Lincoln Avenue and Cherry Street. In addition to being a constable, he was a respected political leader within the Republican Party as well as a member of the original congregation of the First Baptist Church of Cranford.

He died on October 12, 1898, after a lingering illness, at the age of 46. Bryant is buried at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield. A headstone was dedicated on May 26, 1996".

INFORMATION & IMAGE CREDIT: The Cranford Police Department,

SPONSORS: Metro Media Institute, Nino's Pizza, Bergen Street Harrison NJ, and William Paterson University