The Booker bio is irresistible -- and familiar: he arrived in Newark fresh out of Stanford, Oxford and Yale Law, passing up riches to save a poor city. He moved into a decrepit Newark public-housing project, which has since been torn down, and was elected to the Newark city council at age 29. In 2006, at 37, he became mayor. To his supporters, who include A+ listers like Oprah Winfrey, Bon Jovi and Brad Pitt, plus an élite cadre of Wall Street and Silicon Valley scions, Booker's self-sacrificial tale is heroic. To his critics, Booker is still a publicity-loving political opportunist, a permanent outsider using the citizens of Newark to jump-start bigger things for his career.
Booker recently got into a multimedia "fight" with Conan O'Brien after the TV host cracked that the city's health plan consisted of "a bus ticket out of Newark." Booker appeared with Conan on the Tonight Show last month to set things straight.
Booker's talk at Union is titled "How to Change the World with Your Bare Hands." It starts at 6:30 pm in the Nott Memorial.
photo: City of Newark
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