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Coniglio Measure Would Honor First Black State Legislators

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Joseph Coniglio, which would honor New Jersey’s first black legislators, Assemblyman Walter Gilbert Alexander, R-Orange, and Senator Hutchins F. Inge, D-Newark, was unanimously approved today by the Senate State Government Committee.

“Assemblyman Alexander and Senator Inge overcame the racism of their respective time periods and won their seats because they were the best men for the job,” said Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen, who chairs the Senate State Government Panel. “It’s only fitting that we show our respect and admiration for these trailblazers in New Jersey State government.”

Senator Coniglio’s bill, S-2482, would provide for the display of two plaques in the State House, honoring Assemblyman Alexander and Senator Inge.

Assemblyman Alexander, a physician, was elected to the General Assembly in 1921 and went on to serve two legislative terms. The son of former slaves earned his bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University in 1899, and in 1903 he earned a medical degree from Boston College of Physicians and Surgeons. Assemblyman Alexander died in 1953 at the age of 73.

Senator Inge, also a physician, served in the legislature from 1966 to 1968, and was chairman of the Senate Federal and Interstate Relations Committee. A graduate of both the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and of the Howard University School of Medicine, Senator Inge served on the staff of United Presbyterian Hospital in Newark. Senator Inge passed away in 2002, at the age of 101.

This measure now heads to the full Senate for approval.

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