By Special to the Daily World
BALTIMORE, MD – The NAACP mourns the loss of Rep. Donald Payne, the first and only Black congressional member from New Jersey and former national chairman of the NAACP Youth Work Committee. He was 77.
“From his early years working with the NAACP to his extensive career in the United States Congress, Payne displayed courage and compassion for the common man,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “He expanded the conversation about AIDS prevention to include our brothers and sisters in Africa, and always remembered that we are one human family. His leadership will truly be missed.”
“Congressman Payne was a thoughtful leader committed to results rather than bluster,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “His humanity shone through on issues from poverty at home to genocide and health crises abroad. He was a stalwart defender of the underprivileged wherever he went.”
“Congressman Payne was a champion of the NAACP’s bread-and-butter civil rights agenda during his 23 years in Congress,” said Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and senior vice president for Advocacy and Policy. “He was a dear friend of the association and a fierce advocate for justice in the United States and around the world. From Newark to the Sudan, Congressman Payne was a hero to those seeking justice.”
Payne worked with the NAACP Youth Chapter while he was a student at Seton Hall, and chaired the NAACP Youth Work Committee while he was a student at Rutgers University. He has received the NAACP Community Service Award and is a Golden Heritage member of the NAACP.
Payne was elected to Congress in 1989 to represent New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District. He served as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, as well as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.