Attorney Junius W. Williams is a noted attorney, musician and educator. He has been an advocate in Newark, NJ for more than 40 years. While still a law student at Yale University, he commuted between New Haven, CT and Newark where he founded and directed the Newark Area Planning Association (NAPA). In 1968, as Director of NAPA, he was the Chief Negotiator of the Newark Medical School Agreements which produced 60 acres of urban renewal land for housing in Newark, and one of the first successful large scale construction jobs training programs for minorities in the country. Between 1968 and 1970, he developed and became executive director of Newark’s first broad based housing Community Development Corporation (CDC), the Newark Housing Council where he obtained financing to develop housing that was built on the land, including New Hope Village and Georgia King Village. More than 1000 units resulted from his efforts.
From 1970 to 1972, he served as Director of Community Development and the Model Cities Program for the City of Newark. He was responsible for Newark’s “Project Rehab” — called the best housing rehabilitation effort of its kind by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.
In 1987, he participated in the creation of the University Heights Neighborhood Urban Renewal Development Corp., and successfully developed and sold 66 units of low and moderate income housing in Newark’s Central Ward.
As advocate, planner, government and CDC administrator and real estate developer, Junius Williams is responsible for more than 2000 housing units, three community health centers, two day care centers and one commercial restaurant in Newark.
He is also noted for his success as an attorney. In 1978, he was elected the youngest President of the National Bar Association (NBA), the oldest and largest organization of African-American attorneys in the country, and listed among Ebony Magazine’s “100 Most Influential Blacks in America’ In 2009, he was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame for 40 years of the practice of law and service to the community.
From 1982 to 1984, he was Executive Director of the Essex Newark Legal Services. From 1973 to 1982, and again between 1984 and 1994, he maintained a private law practice, specializing in real estate, business development and negligence defense. In 1990, he became Counsel to the Municipal Council of Irvington, New Jersey, and from 1994 to 2002, he served as Township Attorney of Irvington, NJ.
Junius Williams has served the community in a volunteer capacity. He was an official Observer of the first South African National Elections in 1994. He is Founder and President of the Leadership Development Group, and a former President of the Yale Law School Association of NJ (1981-82). He served as Associate Editor of the New Jersey Law Journal (1978-81), and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Essex County College (1981-87).
In addition to his advocacy, Junius Williams is an accomplished musician. He is the co-founder, performer with and business manager of the singing group, “Return To The Source,” which specializes in Spirituals, Gospel, Blues, Jazz and Popular music. Currently, Mr. Williams serves as Director of the Abbott Leadership Institute (ALI), at the Department of Urban Education, Rutgers University, Newark. ALI teaches parents and professional educators how to engage families as partners in the education of children. Most recently, it has included young people in its leadership development mission through the development of the ALI Youth Media Symposium.
Junius Williams’ new book, Unfinished Agenda, Urban Politics in the Era of Black Power, is available at major bookstores and online book vendors.