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Rutgers announces release of newest publication of Scarlet and Black Project

Entertainer and human rights activist Paul Robeson is one of the first Black Rutgers alumni.  – Photo by Photo by | The Daily Targum

As part of the Rutgers Scarlet and Black Project, the University announced the release of a new book that discusses the story of the school’s first Black students and their treatment on campus, according to a University press release. The purpose of this book is to look at the historical relationship Rutgers had with race.

The book, “Scarlet and Black Volume II: Constructing Race and Gender at Rutgers, 1865-1945,” talks about the lives of some of Rutgers’ first Black alumni, according to the release. Among those discussed is Paul Robeson, entertainer and human rights activist, James Dickson Carr, Rutgers’s first Black student who went on to Columbia Law School, and Julia Baxter Bates, the first Black female student who co-authored the brief in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. 

Other figures included Alice Jennings Archibald, the first Black woman to obtain a graduate degree at Rutgers, and Emma Andrews and Evelyn Sermons, the first Black women to develop the residence halls at Rutgers’ Douglass Residential College, according to the release.

“‘Scarlet and Black Volume II’ also highlights how these forerunners, and other (Black people) living in and near New Brunswick, struggled due to a culture of racism often fostered by University trustees, faculty and students,” said Rutgers—New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy, according to a University-wide email alert.

The first publication, “Scarlet and Black Volume I: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History,” was released in 2016, according to the alert. It touched on the early history of Rutgers, detailing the ways in which the University benefited from the slave economy and how it received the land it owns now. 

Molloy said the latest addition to the Scarlet and Black Project is meant to reflect the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, according to the alert. 

“I also thank the Volume II team, which consisted of doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows led by Deborah Gray White, the Board of Governors distinguished professor of history; Marisa Fuentes, the presidential term chair in African American history and associate professor of history and women’s and gender studies; and Kendra Boyd, an assistant professor of history at York University who was a doctoral candidate in African American history at Rutgers, co-authored two chapters of ‘Scarlet and Black Volume I,’” Molloy said, according to the alert.

The University plans to hold a public event at the Rutgers Club on March 31 to celebrate this new publication, according to the alert.

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