Search

Letter to Princeton Town Topics Newspaper, May 5, 2021

How lucky we are to have two great candidates running for Princeton Council this election cycle. We have the incumbent, Councilwoman Eve Niedergang, who has shown us how caring she is about many important topics. I know that Councilwoman Niedergang provided the residents of this great town the opportunity to see her work and help the community through many difficult issues. After serving 15 years as an elected Princeton Councilman, I know the many hours you must be able to provide the town. It takes time, energy and perseverance to become a strong and accepted Councilperson.


It is my pleasure to introduce to some of the residents of Princeton our future Councilman, Leighton Newlin. I have known Leighton for over 40 years; and I respect him and his decision making skills. We are going through very serious times with our elected leaders in this country. Just look around and see the questionable and non-caring behavior exhibited by so many elected officials. This will change with Leighton Newlin in office. The caring and support for everyone will begin on Leighton’s first day in office. Leighton has served as chairperson of Princeton Housing Authority for over 20 years. Leighton has been serving the Witherspoon-Jackson community for many years; and his help with the historic designation for the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood was simply amazing.


This is difficult for me to put into words, but every Council needs a person that has strong passion and love for the community. This is a councilperson that will question and ask what will these ordinances and rules do for the average person trying to survive in Princeton. I cannot explain the seriousness of this position on Council. Leighton Newlin will be that Councilperson. Leighton will have our interest at heart. Leighton will ask questions. Leighton will represent everyone.

Please vote for Leighton Newlin and Eve Niedergang!


Lance Liverman Former Councilman Witherspoon Street

Updated: May 10, 2021

Letter to Princeton Town Topics Newspaper, March 10, 2021

To the Editor:

Born, raised, and educated in Princeton are just some of the many reasons for giving positive consideration to a candidate who is prepared and ready to serve his town. Leighton Newlin is a member of a family who has, for generations, dedicated themselves to service to Princeton.

Just what does Leighton consider important and necessary for occupying a seat on town Council and working to improve Princeton? In addition to his Princeton upbringing, there is education. After graduating from Princeton High School, Leighton attended and graduated from Lincoln University. Lincoln is the first degree-granting university of what has become many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). After graduation, Leighton used the knowledge obtained from college and the entrepreneurial skills learned from his uncle, Mr. George “Lonnie” Barclay, to start a successful hat and accessory business, From the Neck Up, in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

There is the compassion for the lives and stability of the town residents. Leighton has been giving back to his hometown through his advocacy for residents who sought equality in housing. As board chair for the Princeton Housing Authority for 19 of his 24 years on the board, Leighton has made a fair and caring decision to assist all residents who seek affordable and equitable housing.

To address the needs of all residents in the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood, Leighton continued the legacy of Mr. James Floyd as co-chair of the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association. His tireless effort to see that all residents’ voices and concerns are heard and addressed have contributed to a diverse community whose service and pride have elevated an historic neighborhood.

Serving for community development is one component of serving on Council. Leighton was one of eight residents who met weekly to deliberate, discuss, welcome advice from town Council, and listen to concerns of neighbors to establish the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood as the 20th Historic District in Princeton. As one who believes in preserving and sharing the rich history of a people, Leighton is a contributing and proud trustee of the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society.

I have witnessed the many times that Leighton has appeared before Princeton Council to advocate for issues, individuals, and the community at large. He is passionate when it comes to recognizing and addressing the needs of Princeton’s residents.

Many of our Princeton residents see Leighton walking throughout Princeton on most mornings. Each day he sees the beauty, history, sustainability, and promise of his town and he is ready to join others on Princeton Council to listen, support, initiate, and work to make legislative decisions that promote equity, access, social justice, and accountability. He will hit the ground running. Best of all he will walk with you, literally, to discuss issues you believe to be important.

Princeton’s “Grassroots Son” will truly be a Council representative for all Princeton citizens. Please join me to vote for and support Leighton Newlin to Princeton Council.

Shirley A. Satterfield Quarry Street


  • Leighton Newlin For Princeton Council

Updated: May 10, 2021

Leighton Newlin reflects on what Princeton means to him


By Pam Hersh for Central Jersey - October 21, 2016


According to author Thomas Wolfe, “You Can’t Go Home Again.” Once you have left the town where you were brought up, attempts to relive youthful memories will always fail.

 

Princeton native Leighton Newlin has been living the antithesis of this sentiment, for he has had no desire to relive some of those youthful memories. During the 27 years he lived outside of Princeton (to go to college and then work in Boston and New York), he was unsure he even could call Princeton his “home” — and unsure he ever wanted to go back


Sure, he was born in Princeton 67 years ago, went to school in Princeton, had friends and relatives in Princeton. But there was much about growing up in Princeton for the African-American resident that was off-putting. Only recently has Princeton in his heart and mind become his “home,” not just a place of residence.


And Mr. Newlin, a parent of two children and grandparent of four, is living in his grandparents’ Birch Avenue home, next to the house where he grew up. He is eager to tell his story of how his birthplace became his home, thanks to recent social and political changes in Princeton.

(clockwise left to right) Leighton's Great Grandfather, Grandfather, Parents, Brothers, Family, Father (WW2)

”For years I would go places and tell people I met that I was from Princeton,” he said. “The usual response would be something to the extent that I was from a great place and how fortunate I was to be from there. I would always nod my head… but in the back of my mind I would be thinking that the Princeton most people see is not the real Princeton.


In America, oftentimes you hear that black people live ‘on the other side of the (railroad) tracks,’ and it happens to be true. There are railroad tracks in Princeton too, you just don’t see them… But black folks know and have always felt, that the (dividing line) railroad tracks were there.”


As a kid, Mr. Newlin was denied counter seating at two Nassau Street luncheonettes (The Balt and Renwick’s) and denied access to a white friend’s swim club.


When he returned to Princeton in 1996 to be close to his aging parents, “things were better in Princeton, but still not clicking for me as far as feeling a sense of belonging in the community… For most of my adult life, I never have been 100 percent comfortable here, I never have felt like I fully belonged,” said Mr. Newlin, reiterating to me what he had written in an Oct. 5 letter to the editor.


Mr. Newlin had a lot going for him in town where he was surrounded by friends and family. He found a good job at a community education center in Trenton, working on education and vocational training initiatives for prisoners re-entering society — people who were trying to go home again.



He became a volunteer Princeton community activist in the area of affordable housing, educational enrichment, and property tax fairness.


Nevertheless, he never jettisoned his personal feeling that “people of color were viewed as second-class citizens in Princeton.” Only recently, he said has the town embraced the two major initiatives responsible for bringing Mr. Newlin home again.


”The changes I see in the current makeup of the consolidated police department are the most telling aspect of the town’s willingness to be inclusive and diverse,” he said. “Under a consolidated Princeton, our police department — led by a capable chief — has assembled and can boast the most diverse group of law enforcement officers I believe, anywhere in the state of New Jersey.”

The passing of the ordinance that made the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood a historic district was also a “giant step for humankind by the municipality toward acknowledging both recollection of its history and in some sense reparation for the deeds of its past,” he said.


When the Princeton Council unanimously passed the historic district ordinance on April 11,, 2016, Mr. Newlin said he cried. “I cried for my grandparents and all the people that lived in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood that worked to build the infrastructure of a town they never got to fully enjoy or, for that matter, feel part of.”

Princeton is more diverse, more open, more fair-minded, more welcoming, and more American, according to Mr. Newlin, who continues his work with the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association to preserve the neighborhood and the principles of diversity and inclusion.


The neighborhood — “a melting pot of American values,” according to Mr. Newlin — is the most ethnically and economically diverse in Princeton and perhaps in all of central New Jersey. Leighton Newlin feels he has come home — not again, but at last.


LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON CENTRALNEWJERSEY.COM

1
2