Delores Johnson Queenager Wisdom of The Week.
Delores E Johnson, also known as Dee J, and for our very own Sistahship & family, Momma J, she was born and raised in Newark’s Central Ward, then known as the Third Ward, in Newark, NJ. She is an only child of a domestic and presser, she helped her father at Project Cleaners, which helped develop an interest in fashion. Momma J is particular about her wardrobe and always dresses with flare everywhere you see her and her personality matches her flare. At 15 she was a majorette at Central High School, her good looks caught the eye of her now dearly departed husband of 56 years, her sweet Prince, Arthur Johnson, who was playing in a neighborhood basketball game. One glimpse of her and he missed the shot, there the love story began. The sweethearts married after high school and moved to North Carolina, where Arthur attended Winston Salem college. After he graduated, the couple returned to Newark, where Delores, skilled by secretarial courses from high school, raised three amazingly gifted children. She worked in a number of offices throughout her career.
In the late 1960’s, Delores developed an interest in politics, the community, and empowerment of blacks and women. She worked on the city’s poverty program. She met political strategist Harold Hodes and he gave her a job as his secretary in 1973. That was the start of something big, she says. From 1975 to 1986, Delores was secretary to Mayor Gibson, the city’s first black mayor, and met some wonderful people, presidents, movie stars, musicians, etc. It was one of the many highlights of her career, so much so the office family called her Hedda Hopper because although she met a lot of celebrities, she knew everyone and about everyone.
For three decades, Delores was the first stop for people who wanted to see some of Newarks most important city officials, sometimes she was the last. However, in 1986, Sharpe James defeated Gibson, and the tradition of victor forced Johnson to move into a new job as secretary at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, known as UMDNJ, from 1986 to 1990. The defeat of Mayor Gibson was a sad ending to such a beautiful career however, Delores made her way back to City Hall in 1990, when she began working for Council President Donald Bradley. In 1995, she then began working for City Clerk Robert Maraso and that was her final job, where she retired. As her colleagues and friends said, her retirement marked the end of an era of a charming secretary who remembered birthdays, anniversaries, knew customs of visitors, and never feared telling her bosses when they were wrong.
Delores still is the most social person, with a beautiful warm smile and such loving hands and hugs. Delores Johnson is one special Queenager, everyone that she knows dearly and those who know her, expect to get holiday cards from her, she never forgets a friend. That is her loyalty, her legacy, and integrity.