Saturday, December 31, 2016

N.J. activist, champion of African-American heritage dies at 76

Sad news, this esteemed Muslim man was my foster parent and legal gaurdian under the NJ DYFS Program from 1970 through 1971. He taught me to be proud of my African American heritage. I lived under his tutelage at 272 Lincoln Street in East Orange, New Jersey while attending Clifford J. Scott High School as a sophomore and junior. God rest his soul. Balozi Harvey gave me my Swahili name: Akili by which I am commonly known by many of my closest schoolmates. I should be at his funeral service today but I just learned of his passing this morning. Please consider saying a prayer today for his family! Thank you. - Akili/JD/Jon Dunnemann

By Jessica Remo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 
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on December 30, 2016 at 11:50 AM


In a 2005 photo, Balozi Harvey, sits in the living room where some of his art collection is displayed at his home in South Orange. Mitsu Yasukawa / The Star Ledger ( )

Newark - Balozi Robert A. Harvey, a longtime New Jersey community activist and organizer whose work benefited African-American communities in the state as well as abroad in Africa and the Caribbean died Thursday. He was 76. 

Harvey will be recalled as a champion of African-American issues and forged diplomatic ties to foster better cultural and trade relations between the United States and Africa, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka said in a statement Friday.

"I join the citizens of Newark, the local and global community of pan-African nationalists and the many nations in the African Diaspora in mourning the passing of Balozi Robert Alexander Harvey, an extraordinary community organizer and activist in New Jersey and beyond," Baraka said. "Balozi's life was a love story with Africa and with Newark and its people." 
Balozi Harvey.

Harvey was born in East Orange and graduated from East Orange High School in 1957, according to his website.

He majored in political science at Seton Hall University and later attended the United Nations Language School, where he learned Swahili, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Zulu. Harvey served in the Strategic Air Command of the U.S. Air Force from 1957 to 1961.

"Few have done more to build bridges between African nations and the Black communities of America," Baraka said. "As a businessman and diplomat, Balozi Harvey facilitated hundreds of millions of dollars in trade between Africa and the United States, developing trade and investment relationships between American small, minority, and women-owned firms and developing nations."

Throughout his career, Harvey served numerous boards, commissions and companies. From 1977 to 1982, he worked as an aide to Newark Mayor Kenneth Gibson focused on trade efforts.

"In Newark, we remember Balozi Harvey as Mayor Ken Gibson's partner in opening up trade between Newark companies and African and Caribbean nations," Baraka said. "We remember him for his work as a trusted advisor to local governments in promoting cultural diversity, affirmative action, job training, and economic development.

"Balozi Harvey will be sorely missed but he made sure that thousands here and in Africa have the determination, skills and knowledge to carry on his life's work."

Services are scheduled for Saturday with a tribute of dignitaries and imams at 11 a.m. followed by Janazah, or Islamic Funeral, according to his obituary.

Prayer will be held at noon at the National Islamic Association, 231 Roseville Ave., Newark. Interment will be at Restland Memorial Park, 77 Deforest Ave., East Hanover. Funeral services are being handled by Islamic Burial Services.