Wynona Lipman – First African American Female Member of NJ Senate

wynona lipman

Wynona Lipman (1923-1999)

Jersey gem: Lived in Newark

A former Essex County Freeholder, Wynona Lipman became the first African American woman in the New Jersey Senate when she was elected in 1971. She served nine terms representing the 29th Legislative District and her impressive 27 years of service established Lipman as the Senate’s longest-serving member at the time of her death.

Lipman was elected in 1968 to the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and served as its president in 1971. During her time in the Senate, Lipman was often the only woman in the room. Consequently, she was nicknamed the “Steel Magnolia.” She dedicated her years in the Senate to the Governor’s Advisory Council on AIDS and the Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect.

In 1998, Lipman was inducted into New Jersey’s “Women’s Hall of Fame.” The Wynona Moore Lipman Ethnic Studies Center at Kean University is named in her honor, as well as the Wynona Lipman Child Advocacy Center for abused children.

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