Mrs. Alice Jennings Archibald was born and raised in New Brunswick New Jersey and graduated from New Brunswick High School in 1923 as salutatorian of her class. She attended Howard University and graduated there in 1927 with her Bachelor’s Degree, and also received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1928. Mrs. Archibald became the first African-American woman to graduate from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education in 1938. During World War II, Mrs. Archibald worked for Raritan Arsenal as a completion clerk and a neighborhood Air Warden. After the war, she joined the staff of the New Brunswick Urban League as assistant to the executive director in 1946 and then worked at the Employment Office as a counselor. With the Urban League, Mrs. Archibald hired the first black man to Johnson and Johnson, and hired the first black teachers in New Brunswick. She continued as a counselor until her retirement in 1972.
Dr. Alexander was born in 1922 in Petersburg, Virginia. He attended Orange High school in New Jersey before he was accepted to Rutgers on a scholarship. He was a member of ROTC, the engineering program, and the Rutgers track team. A Tuskegee Airman, he graduated from Rutgers with a degree in mechanical engineering, then went to work for Douglas Aircraft as a draftsman in California. He enlisted in the USAAF in 1944 and trained at Keesler and Tuskegee Army Airbases as a fighter pilot. World War II ended before he was deployed. He later attended Howard University's dental school and became a distinguished dentist in New Jersey.
Ndidi Amutah was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1981 to Nigerian parents. Dr. Amutah grew up in Trenton and graduated from Trenton Central High School in 1999. She attended Livingston College at Rutgers, where she was active in the Livingston College Governing Association. After graduating from Livingston in 2003 with a B.A. in African Studies and a B.S. in Public Health, she earned a Master's in Public Health at George Washington University. Dr. Amutah attended the University of Maryland, College Park and studied maternal child health for her Ph.D. Dr. Amutah completed a Kellogg Foundation postdoctoral fellowship, served as a professor at Montclair State University, and then became a professor of public health and community medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine.
Bruce McLeod was born in Jamaica and immigrated to the United States as a teenager. McLeod then joined the US Army, where he served as a medic during the Vietnam War.
Dr. Brown was born in Warrenton, Georgia on February, 24, 1919. He grew up in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania as the oldest of six siblings. He attended Hampton Institute and graduated in 1941 with a English and History major. A volunteer for the Army Air Force, he attended Officer Candidate School in Miami Beach and then volunteered to be trained at Tuskegee Air Field. He served as a special services officer with the 618th Bomb Squadron in the American Theater of Operations. After the war he attended Columbia University with the help of the GI Bill and he graduated in 1950. He was later hired as the first African-American Professor at Rutgers University. There were many highlights of Dr. Brown’s Academic career, but one that especially stands out was his debate at Rutgers with Malcolm X at the Rutgers School of Pharmacy.
Mr. Crawley was born in Danville, Virginia on August 30th,1914. He attended Westmoreland High School in Virginia before attending Hampton Institute for three years and then attended West Virginia State with a major in agriculture. He served in a segregated Army quartermaster unit in the ETO during World War II. After the war, he used the GI Bill to study architectural drafting and opened his own business by the name of Burton & Crawley Contractors.
Dr. Cornelius E. Gaither was born in Philadephia in 1928. He attended an all black elementary schooll in West Chester, Pennsylvania before attending an integrated high school. Gaither attended Lincoln University in 1945 and went on to Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee to earn his doctorate degree in Dental Surgery. He joined the Air Force in 1955 and spent three years an oral surgeon in Germany. Gaither retired in 1987 having served over thirty years in the Reserves.
Patricia Graham was born in Saluda, South Carolina on March 9, 1949. She grew up in Philadelphia and then moved to New Jersey during high school. Dr. Graham graduated from West Side High School in Newark in 1966. She attended Essex County Community College and then Rutgers-Newark, before transferring to Livingston College at Rutgers-New Brunswick. During college, Dr. Graham participated in the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program. Majoring in urban studies and secondary education, Dr. Graham graduated from Livingston College in 1972. She went on to earn her Master's degree in education at Antioch College and Ed.D. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. From 1977 to 2013, Dr. Graham served in various positions at East Stroudsburg University, where she is now a professor emeritus.
Kent Hatfield was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1959. He joined the Army when he was 18 and served in Texas and South Korea. He later worked for American Airlines. He now lives in New Brunswick.
Donald Harris was born in New York, New York in 1940. He attended Rutgers College and graduated in 1963 with majors in English and Physical Education. At Rutgers, Harris was a member of the Air Force ROTC and also played football and lacrosse. He worked as a Civil Rights activist during his student days at Rutgers and, later, as a fieldworker for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Southwest Georgia in the early 1960s. In August 1963, he was arrested in Americus, Georgia, while trying to register African-American voters. Harris and two others were charged with insurrection, a capital offense in Georgia. The case stirred support on the Rutgers campus and across New Jersey in the Fall of 1963. Harris was released in November after a federal court declared the law under which he was charged to be unconstitutional. He went on to pursue graduate work at the City University of New York, Harvard Law School, and Columbia University. He worked for Philip Morris International Management and retired as the Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications.
Mr. Moss grew up in Princeton where both his parents worked for the University. He attended Princeton High School and went on to Rutgers University where he played football and lacrosse. He was also a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He was drafted into the Army in 1942 and served as an infantry officer in the 92nd Infantry Division during World War II, and received a purple heart, a silver star and a bronze star. After WWII he entered the reserves and was also called up for service in the Korean War. Mr. Moss was also one of the first African American students to be accepted to Princeton, earning his masters degree there.
Donald Van Blake was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, and during the Second World War served in the "Red Ball Express" as a truck driver. After the war, he was active in the Civil Rights Movement and went on to have a career in transportation.
In his interview, Steven Walker describes his upbringing in the town of Montclair, New Jersey during the mid-1960s, his experiences as a first-generation college student studying journalism at Livingston College at Rutgers-New Brunswick during the 1980s, and his career as a journalist in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. With family roots going back to Jamaica, Walkers' grandparents came from Mississippi and North Carolina. During World War II, his father, a Montclair native, served in the "Red Ball Express" in France after the Allies invaded Europe in 1944. During his school years, he experienced diversity in Montclair that had not existed when his parents were growing up there. This continued into his years at Livingston College, where he became a founding member of the Rutgers chapter of Kappa Delta Rho, an organization with members coming from a wide variety of backgrounds. He was also a regular contributor to the Daily Targum and the Black Voice. After graduating from Livingston College in the Class of 1986, he started his professional journalism career writing for the Herald and News in Passaic. He went on to work for such publications as The Star-Ledger, The Source, The Orange Transcript, The West Orange Chronicle and The East Orange Record. After working in the N.J. Department of the Public Advocate, he became an investigator for the N.J. Division on Civil Rights. Walker lives in Montclair with his wife and son.
Clarence Wilson was born in Virginia and migrated to the North during the Great Depression in the 1930s, initially relocating to Pennsylvania and later to New Jersey. During the Great Depression, Wilson worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps, serving in a segregated unit. In the 1942, Wilson was inducted into the military where he served as a truck driver in the segregated 263rd Quartermaster and 3404th Quartermaster Truck Companies and was among the first waves of American soldiers to land in North Africa. Wilson participated in US military actions across North Africa, Sicily, and Italy until the war ended in 1945. After his honorable discharge, Wilson raised a family and worked in the chemical industry until his retirement.