Skip to main content

Gus Heningburg: A Legacy of Unity and Empowerment in Newark's History


By: Richard L. Smith 

On this 7th day of our Black History Month series, we honor the remarkable legacy of Mr. Gus Heningburg, a man whose life's work was dedicated to fostering unity, progress, and equal opportunities in Newark and beyond.

Born on May 18, 1930, at the esteemed Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Heningburg's journey took him from the deep South to the heart of New York City, where he completed his high school education at Jamaica High School in 1946.

Heningburg's early years were marked by service, as he dedicated six years to the Counter Intelligence Corps in Europe and New Jersey.

His leadership journey blossomed as he became the inaugural president of the Greater Newark Urban Coalition, steering the organization for 12 years as both president and CEO.

In the wake of the 1967 Newark rebellion, Heningburg was instrumental in bringing together corporate leaders, community activists, and political figures to spearhead the city's revitalization efforts.

His vision extended to empowering the city's Black and Puerto Rican communities, using his influential role to champion their rights and opportunities.

Notably, during the "liberation" of Conklin Hall by the Black Organization of Students at Rutgers-Newark in 1969, Heningburg was a key architect behind the Equal Opportunity Fund, a milestone in minority recruitment and education.NinosHeningburg's adept negotiating skills came to the fore during critical moments such as the Newark Teacher's Strike of 1970-1971 and the Stella Wright Tenants Strike in 1973.

His ability to navigate these complex challenges with credibility and quiet, effective leadership not only brought resolution but also garnered praise for his capacity to bring order out of chaos and find solutions where none seemed possible.

Gus Heningburg's passing on October 15, 2012, at the age of 82, marked the end of a life that was profoundly impactful.

His legacy, however, continues to inspire and resonate within the Newark community and beyond, a testament to a life dedicated to the betterment of society and the upliftment of underrepresented communities.

Today, we celebrate Gus Heningburg, a true beacon of hope and unity in our shared history.NinosINFORMATION & IMAGE CREDIT:](,  Robert Curvin, Inside Newark: Decline, Rebellion, and the Search for Transformation

SPONSORS: Nino's Ristorante & Pizzeria, Bergen Street Harrison, NJ, Jorelle Green S. Green (Keller Willams Realtor), Champions Action Martial Arts (Union, NJ)