Congressman Donald Payne

Congressman Donald Payne, 7' bronze sculpture by Thomas Jay Warren, NSS, Stands at the Congressman Donald Payne Plaza in Essex County, New Jersey

Congressman Donald Payne

New Jersey’s First Black Legislator
Served in the United States House of Representatives from 1989-2012

7’ bronze
Newark, New Jersey

Congressman Donald Payne was a trailblazer who changes the lives of many. Born into poverty in 1934, Payne began life in a cramped Newark apartment with no indoor plumbing. When he died at age 77 he was the first African American from New Jersey to serve in Congress, a seat he held for 23 years. His legacy as a peacemaker and an advocate for human rights in Africa was demonstrated in the list of speakers at his funeral which included former President Bill Clinton, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and civil rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis (GA-5th). “We all know that he was an elected official, but his biggest passion was helping young people,” said DiVincenzo who dedicated the plaza to Payne in 2009, and led the effort to place the statue today. DiVincenzo thanked the sculptor, Jay Warren, who also sculpted the statue of U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan outside the county Hall of Records.

The bronze statue weighs about 500 pounds, is 7′ tall and is situated on a 2′ tall granite pedestal. It is placed in the plaza between the Essex County Veterans Courthouse and the Essex County LeRoy F. Smith, Jr. Public Safety Building, which as dedicated as “Congressman Donald M. Payne Plaza” in 2009. The statue was created by artist Jay Warren from Oregon, who also created bronze statues of Althea Gibson in Essex County Branch Brook Park and Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. in front of the Historic Essex County Courthouse. Funding was provided through donations from Barnabas Health, Education & Health Centers of America, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Military Park Building LLC c/o Berger Association, New Jersey Laborers’ Employers’ Corporation, New Jersey State Laborers’ Political Action, Prudential, PSEG Foundation and the Robert Treat Hotel.

Warren Sculpture

Contact Jay Warren to inquire.

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