WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Recreation Commission has unanimously agreed to dedicate a plaque at the Westfield Memorial Pool Complex in honor of a Westfield civic leader who advocated for Black families.

In addition to advocating to keep the area that is now the Westfield Memorial Pool complex from becoming a dump-yard in the 1960s, Charles Morrison Sr. was instrumental in having Westfield become one of the first communities to close schools on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and led civil rights marches in Westfield, his obituary says. He died in May 2019.

Mayor Shelley Brindle had approached the commission about the project.

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“I am thrilled that we are formally recognizing the contributions of Charles Morrison Sr., not only in the creation of the Memorial Pool Complex as we know it today, but also in his larger impact on the Westfield community,” Brindle said. “His commitment to social justice and his determination to demand equity for Black families in housing and the schools serves as a model and inspiration for the challenges we continue to face today.”

Recreation Director Don Bogardus noted Morrison’s work that helped to facilitate the creation of the Memorial Pool Complex.

“He was instrumental in stopping public works from putting the conservation center back there,” Bogardus said. “[The town] wants to recognize the work Mr. Morrison did back in the day.”

The plaque will be placed at the main flagpole in the circle at the complex, with a walkway and garden by the Memorial Pool sign, recreation officials said. The price and construction date of the plaque are to be determined.

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