He was affectionately called “Tiny Prince,” but there was nothing diminutive about Carl Brinson.
He earned the nickname because of his stature and courtly manner, but Brinson’s legacy in the city of Newark was anything but small.
As an advocate for human rights and afirmative action, Brinson was a friend of New Community and a member of St. Rose of Lima Church in Newark, according to Monsignor William J. Linder, founder and board chairman of NCC, who served as the pastor of St. Rose for nearly four decades.
Brinson passed away on Aug. 19, 2015, at age 97.
Brinson served as the minority business coordinator at the Newark Housing Authority Affirmative Action Office. As a staunch supporter of affirmative action, Brinson marshaled his role at the housing authority to ensure that African-Americans and other minority residents of Newark were hired for construction jobs, Monsignor said. He worked for the housing authority for 18 years, during which time NCC built or developed more than a dozen properties and employed thousands of construction workers, according to Monsignor.
As a result, Brinson went head to head with union leaders. He succeeded in advocating for minority workers with the support of leaders from the state level.
“The state respected him very much and we did (as well),” Monsignor said.
Brinson displayed a great affinity for Newark. He experienced the city’s jazz heyday and rubbed shoulders with the likes of Harry Belafonte, Ella Fitzgerald and countless others. He also lived through the rebellion of the Summer of 1967 and its aftermath.
“People look at Newark today and they think it’s a bad place. It’s not a bad place,” Brinson said in a Star-Ledger report published April 2, 2007. “It’s just that different people come here and make changes.”
Born in Newark, Carl Joseph Alexander Brinson resided in East Orange and was a widely-respected publisher of Newark’s Black Mirror News as well as the founder and publisher of an independent news service called Trend Publishing Company, which was established in 1949 to serve the interests of the black community. He was also a columnist and feature writer for publications such as the Black Herald News, Amsterdam News and other small publications.
On Brinson’s part, the changes he effected in Newark played a significant role in New Community’s growth and now holds a place in NCC’s history, Monsignor noted.
Brinson is survived by four children: Carletta Mitchell, Carlton Keys, Marla Brinson and Tawana Brinson. His memories are also cherished by eight grandchildren, five great grandchildren and many more relatives and friends.