Lawyer Junius Williams was born on December 23, 1943 in Suffolk, Virginia. After graduating from Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia, Williams attended Amherst College and earned his B.A. degree from there in 1965. He went on to receive his J.D. degree from Yale University in 1968.

While attending law school, Williams spent time living in Newark, New Jersey during his summers in order to work with the Newark Community Union Project. Following his graduation from Yale University, Williams moved permanently to Newark to help rebuild the city after the riots of 1967. During his time in Newark, Williams also maintained a private law practice. He began as the director of the Newark Area Planning Association, where he helped produce affordable housing and job training programs for minorities. In 1970, Williams was named as the director of the Model Cities Program for the City of Newark. He was named as the youngest president in the National Bar Association’s history in 1978, and his administration became known as “The Year of Affirmative Action.” In 1990, William was named as Counsel to the Municipal Council of Irvington, New Jersey. Only four years later, he became the Township Attorney for Irvington. During his career, Williams has also served as the director for the Abbott Leadership Institute at Rutgers University.

In addition to his professional career, Williams was also actively involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the Civil Rights Movement. As a member of SNCC, he participated in the 1963 March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery March. Williams was involved in the Civil Rights History Project as a part of the Smithsonian Institute as well. He also served as a chairman of the Greater Abyssinian Baptist Church and as an Official Observer at the first South African National Election. Williams published his own book on African American politics, Unfinished Agenda: Urban Politics in the Era of Black Power, in 2014.

Williams and his wife, Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams, live in Newark, New Jersey. They have four children: Camille, Junea, Junius, and Che. — bio courtesy of The HistoryMakers – http://www.thehistorymakers.org/.