Cisse (right) celebrates his opener with Anton Ferdinand
Kieran Richardson's sublime free-kick saw off a spirited Newcastle side to earn Sunderland their first Wear-Tyne derby victory in eight years.
Djibril Cisse showed great reactions to put Sunderland ahead when he steered in Steed Malbranque's shot-cum-cross.
Shola Ameobi's powerful header from Geremi's fine free-kick drew Joe Kinnear's men level before the break.
But Richardson crashed home the winner with a ferocious 18-yard strike after Nicky Butt fouled El-Hadji Diouf.
The Magpies matched their hosts for most of a fiery match played in battering wind. But the Black Cats started and finished strongly, created the better chances and no one could argue with the quality of Richardson's winner 15 minutes from time.
Having shown commendable fighting spirit to come back to salvage 2-2 draws from their last two games, Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear was desperate not to see his struggling side fall behind again.
But they did not heed the warning and once again started slowly, finding themselves a goal down after 20 minutes.
Sunderland, who had lost six of their last seven games against their fierce rivals, looked lively from the outset with Diouf and Cisse proving a constant threat to a shaky Newcastle rearguard.
And although the hosts' lead was deserved, the goal was fortunate.
The ever-dangerous Malbranque wormed his way towards the edge of the box and his mis-hit shot was going hopelessly wide before it was carefully guided home at the far post by Cisse's outstretched boot.
Interview: Sunderland boss Roy Keane
But the visitors showed all the spirit so evident in the Kinnear era and quickly regrouped.
Newcastle's front pairing of Obafemi Martins and Ameobi started to get more involved and they were able to draw level from a free-kick when Sunderland struggled to clear their lines after a goalmouth scramble.
Geremi whipped in an inviting cross from the left flank and Ameobi, who had waited two years for a goal, made it two in two games when he lost marker Anton Ferdinand and powered the ball past Marton Fulop.
With the game now finely balanced, Ameobi had a glorious opportunity to grab his second just before the hour but shot well over after a fine run and pass from Martins.
At the other end Cisse also had a great chance to notch his second of the game but failed to connect properly with only keeper Shay Given to beat.
With the match opening up, Richardson, who had a free-kick harshly disallowed in last week's draw against Fulham, blasted a stunning winner with 15 minutes remaining.
The midfielder took responsibility after Diouf was fouled on the edge of the box and crashed home an unstoppable shot past Given to secure Sunderland's first top-flight win on Wearside since 1967 and their first home league victory over the Magpies since 1980.
Interview: Newcastle's interim boss Joe Kinnear
Cisse could have added a third late on but was denied by the upright after a probing run.
The only other action saw Newcastle's Joey Barton back on the football pitch after his six-game ban.
Unsurpisingly, his every move was booed by the home fans but he also appeared to be pelted with missiles as he warmed up.
And as the final whistle went, jubilant Sunderland fans started pouring onto the pitch to celebrate and a few scuffles broke out among the two sets of fans to mar a great day for Roy Keane's men.
Sunderland manager Roy Keane on beating Newcastle for the first time in eight years:
"It's been a long time to wait but I think we deserved it.
"We had the best opportunties. They had one good chance in the second half but I thought we edged it.
"Mentally it was a big test today but we came through it with flying colours. We had to focus on the game not past records."
Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear:
"There wasn't much between the two teams. They shaded it with a magnificent strike.
"We had a great chance through Shola to put us 2-1 ahead just before they scored.
"I'm disappointed obviously. But we have to pick ourselves up and look at the game against West Brom on Tuesday. It's a must-win situation. I have to motivate the players and get them back on track."
BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Newcastle's Shola Ameobi 7.81 (on 90 minutes). Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.
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