While still a law student at Yale, he commuted between New Haven,CT and Newark, NJ, where he founded and directed the Newark Area Planning Association (NAPA). In 1968, as Director of NAPA, he was the Chief Negotiator of the Newark Medical School Agreements which produced 60 acres of urban renewal land for housing in Newark, and one of the first successful large scale construction jobs training programs for minorities in the country.
Between 1968 and 1970, he developed and administered Newark’s first broad based housing CDC, the Newark Housing Council. As Executive Director, he obtained financing from the NJ Department of Community Affairs, supervised a staff of professionals, and consultants, and coordinated the development of housing that was built on the land, including New Hope Village and Georgia King Village. More than 1000 units resulted from his efforts.
From 1970 to 1972, he served as Director of Community Development and the Model Cities Program for the City of Newark. He administered 31 projects and activity areas including new and rehab housing. He was responsible for Newark’s “Project Rehab”, which was called the best housing rehab effort of its kind by HUD, resulting in more than 600 low and moderate income apartments. Under the Community Development umbrella, he parlayed a basic Model Cities grant of $5.6 million into projects valued at more than $50 million over a two-year period. In 1987, he participated in the creation of the University Heights Neighborhood Urban Renewal Development Corp., and successfully developed and sold 66 units of low and moderate income housing in Newark’s Central Ward. He raised $5 million for project financing from local banks, state housing agencies, and the Local Investment Support Corporation (LISC).
As advocate, planner, government and CDC administrator, and real estate developer Junius Williams is responsible for more than 2000 housing units, three community health centers, two day care centers, and one commercial restaurant in Newark.
He is also noted for his success as an attorney. In 1978, he was elected the youngest President of the National Bar Association, the oldest and largest organization of African-American attorneys in the country, and listed among Ebony Magazine’s “100 Most Influential Blacks in America”. As President of the NBA, he presented a paper on the Rhodesian Constitution to the Organization of African Unity at the United Nations, a paper adopted by the United Nations as its official position on the matter of political freedom for Africans in what is now called Zimbabwe. This paper was circulated throughout the world in seven different languages as an official United Nations Document.
From 1982 to 1984, as Executive Director of the Essex Newark Legal Services, he successfully argued the motion which granted the right of homeless individuals in Newark to receive City welfare benefits even if they have no address. He also represented the voters of Newark in the successful fight to seat Oliver Brown and Edgar Brown at the Newark Board of Education upon the denial of their seats as duly elected representatives.
Junius Williams represented Rev. Jesse Jackson in the historical court decision to bring single lever voting to the state of New Jersey, making it possible to cast one vote for Presidential Candidate Jesse Jackson to get all his delegates. This was the first constitutionally based lawsuit of its kind in the country, and insures that the delegate and candidate vote in Presidential elections are one and the same.
From 1973 to 1982, and again between 1984 and 1994, he maintained a private law practice, specializing in real estate, business development and negligence defense. Representative clients included Consolidated Rail Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Aetna Life Insurance Company, Union Carbide Corporation, First National State Bank of New Jersey, City National Bank, Associated Professionals, County of Essex, and Junbo Enterprises. In 1990, he became Counsel to the Municipal Council of Irvington, New Jersey, and from 1994 to 2002, he served as Township Attorney of Irvington.
Junius Williams has served the community in a volunteer capacity. He was an official Observer of the first South African National Elections in 1994. He is Founder and President of the Leadership Development Group, and a former President of the Yale Law School Association of NJ (1981-82). He served as Associate Editor of the New Jersey Law Journal (1978-81), and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Essex County College (1981-87). He was a founding member and served as Secretary of the Newark Collaboration Group. Currently, he is the Secretary of the Board of Agricultural Missions, an affiliate of the National Council of Churches, and is former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Education Law Center of New Jersey, an advocacy group responsible for bringing parity in school funding to inner city schools. He is former Chairman of the Board Trustees of Greater Abyssinian Baptist Church.
In addition to his advocacy, Junius Williams is an accomplished musician. He is the co-founder, performer with and business manager of the singing group, “Return to the Source”, which specializes in Spirituals, Gospel, Blues, Jazz and Popular music. As writer and producer, he created “Celebration: The Sights and Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement”, a multimedia history of the Southern Civil Rights Movement of the 1960′s. For the classroom, he produced “Long Journey Home”, a seven part digitized multi-media project, using African American music to teach language arts and American history in schools, funded by a grant from the Dodge Foundation and the school district of Plainfield, NJ. In celebration of the 50^th anniversary of the cases known as /Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas, et al, /he wrote and performed in the multi-media presentation “The Story of Brown,” sponsored by the Prudential Foundation at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, in Newark. Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa called this production, “Moving and persuasive”.