Gwendolyn Faison, the first woman to be elected mayor of Camden and the first Black woman to be president of the Camden City Council, has died at 96.
Faison, who held the mayoral post between 2000 and 2010, was a “leader of unmatched quality during an unprecedented and tumultuous time,” Camden County Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli wrote in a statement on behalf of the Board of Commissioners.
Faison took office after the previous mayor, Milton Milan, was convicted of corruption. A 2002 deal in which the state pumped $175 million into the city for upgrades but took over many aspects of city government left Faison without much power.
“During a difficult time in Camden's history, Mayor Faison was a stabilizing force. She led the City with honor and integrity. My prayers are with her family, friends, and colleagues,” current Mayor Victor Carstarphen said in a statement, adding that was a “pioneer and trailblazer.”
Carstarphen also ordered the city to fly flags at half-staff at all municipal buildings until the day of Faison's funerary services.