Rutgers—New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy sent a University-wide email yesterday to announce the upcoming publication of the final book in the "Scarlet and Black" trilogy, “Scarlet and Black Volume III: Making Black Lives Matter at Rutgers, 1945-2020,” which will be released next month.
The book is part of the University’s ongoing Scarlet and Black Project and will touch upon a broad period of history, with one focus being the “Black revolution on campus,” according to the email. This was a period of protests at Rutgers and other universities in the 1960s and 70s that called for higher education to better represent and honor diversity.
“The third volume highlights activism by Black, Latinx and other students at Rutgers’ Camden, New Brunswick and Newark campuses and how they succeeded in challenging Rutgers to become the exemplar of diversity, equity and inclusion that (former President Barack Obama) celebrated during his 2016 commencement speech and that we continue to improve upon today,” Molloy said.
The first book, “Scarlet and Black Volume I: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History,” was published in 2016 and focused on tracing how the University has benefited from the slave economy and came to acquire the land it has today, according to the email.
The second publication, “Scarlet and Black Volume II: Constructing Race and Gender at Rutgers, 1865-1945,” was released last year and provided additional context for Rutgers’ first Black students. It discusses how students such as Paul Robeson and Julia Baxter Bates struggled due to a culture of racism at the University.
Many Rutgers community members have worked on the books, including doctoral candidates, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduate students, according to the email. They were led by Deborah Gray White, a Board of Governors distinguished professor of history, Marisa Fuentes, presidential term chair in African American history and an associate professor of history and women's and gender studies, and their co-editors.
“Please join me in thanking and congratulating them for this groundbreaking work that has challenged us to confront our past and has literally changed our University’s landscape,” Molloy said. “It has become a model for universities that study their relationship to slavery, to (Black Americans) and to other unrepresented identities.”
The Scarlet and Black Committee held a virtual symposium yesterday and will also hold one today to discuss the most recent books and the future of the project.