The son of African-American trailblazers (Cary and Carolyn Booker were among the first African-American executives at IBM), Booker was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in the predominantly white, affluent town of Harrington Park in Bergen County, New Jersey. He is an alumnus of Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan where he was an All-American football player. Following graduation, Booker traveled west to study at Stanford University and earned a B.A. in political science in 1991 as well as an M.A. in sociology the following year. He played varsity football — he made the All–Pacific Ten Academic team — and was elected to the council of (four) presidents. In addition, he ran The Bridge, a student-run crisis hotline and organized help for youth in East Palo Alto from Stanford students. While at Stanford, Booker also became good friends with Rachel Maddow.
Cory Booker Bio
Booker obtained a J.D. in 1997 from Yale Law School where he started and operated free legal clinics for low-income residents of New Haven. He was also a Big Brother, and was active in the Black Law Students Association. Booker lived in Newark during his final year at Yale and following graduation served as Staff Attorney for the Urban Justice Center in New York and Program Coordinator of the Newark Youth Project. From 1998 to 2006, he lived in Brick Towers, a troubled housing complex in Newark’s Central Ward. Booker organized tenants to fight for improved conditions. In November 2006, as one of the last remaining tenants in Brick Towers, Booker left his apartment for the top unit in a three-story rental on Hawthorne Avenue in Newark’s South Ward, an area described as “a drug-and gang-plagued neighborhood of boarded-up houses and empty lots.”[ Brick Towers has since been demolished and a new mixed-income development will be built there in 2010.
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