Social and Cultural History

African-American History

  • Walter G. Alexander, II

    Description: Dr. Alexander, a Tuskegee Airman, graduated from Rutgers with a degree in mechanical engineering and then went to work for Douglas Aircraft as a draftsman in California. He enlisted in the US Army Air Forces 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.   See Also: Rutgers Today (January 2012)
  • Ndidi Amutah

    Description: 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.
  • Alice Jennings Archibald

    Description: Alice Jennings Archibald was born and raised in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She went to public schools and graduated from New Brunswick High School in 1923 with academic distinction. She earned a B.A. at Howard University in 1927 and a bachelor of education from the University of Cincinnati in 1928. She went on to the Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE), earning an M.A. in 1938 and becoming the first African American woman to graduate from the GSE. She spent her career in education. During World War II, she worked as an air raid warden and USO volunteer. She was a member of Mount Zion A.M.E. Church in New Brunswick and was active in the Urban League.
  • Bryson C. Armstead, Sr.

    Description: Bryson C. Armstead, Sr. was born in 1923 in Haddonfield, New Jersey.  He graduated from Memorial High School and worked for Campbell’s Soup before World War II.  During the war, Bryson joined the US Navy and served as a steward’s mate.  After the war, he earned a master’s degree at Temple University on the GI Bill.
  • Leonard Bethel

    Description: Dr. Leonard Bethel is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Africana Studies at Rutgers. He was born in 1939 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the interview, he describes growing up in the predominantly Black neighborhood of West Philadelphia, being involved in the Fellowship House, through which he became exposed to the Civil Rights Movement, and working at La Citadelle Camp, operated by activist and educator Layle Lane. After attending Lincoln University for his undergraduate degree, he earned a Master of Divinity at Johnson C. Smith University, during which time he was active in desegregation efforts in North Carolina. He earned a Master of Arts in Theology at New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS) and received a doctorate at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. He became an ordained Presbyterian minister in 1964. After coming to Rutgers in 1969, he worked to establish the Department of Africana Studies, chaired the department for fifteen years, and served as a faculty member for forty-two years. Through his ministry, he became involved in the anti-apartheid movement, as well as in community service organizations and initiatives. A long-time resident of Plainfield, he served as the pastor at Bethel Presbyterian Church. He is the author of numerous books and articles including Educating African Leaders: Missionism in America and La Citadelle: Layle Lane and Social Activism in 20th Century America.
  • William Neal Brown

    Description: Dr. William Neal Brown trained at Tuskegee Air Field and served as a special services officer with the 618th Bomb Squadron in the American Theater of Operations during World War II. He earned his BA at the Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Virginia, MSW from Columbia University in 1950 and Ph.D. in Human Growth and Development from City University of New York. He taught at the Rutgers School of Social Work from 1956 until his retirement in 1989. See Also: Dr. William Neal Brown WWII Photographs
  • Arnold Norris Byrd

    Description: Arnold Norris Byrd was born to Laura Bertha and Ralph Herman Byrd in Camden, New Jersey, in 1939. Byrd attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick from 1957 to 1961 and earned his Bachelor’s in Psychology while participating in athletics. At Rutgers he was part of the Black Student Union and the ROTC. In 1976, he graduated from Antioch College with a Master’s in Community Education. During the interview, Byrd discusses his family’s decision to move from Virginia as part of the Great Migration and his positive experiences growing up in Camden. He touches on the issue of school integration in the city. The interview includes information about his experiences in the ROTC and his military service in Korea. He ended his service as a captain in the reserves. He describes race relations in the military. He talks about his life-long participation in athletics, especially during his time at Rutgers University and while serving in the military. Byrd returned to Camden and spent most of his life residing in his hometown. The interview highlights his civil service and economic development work in the city, including work for the Welfare Board and his decades as the Executive Director of the Camden County Council on Economic Opportunity (OEO). He describes his relationship with Camden leader Poppy Sharp and the Black People’s Unity Movement. He also discusses his perspectives on Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X. This interview was recorded as part of the Black Camden Oral History Project.
  • Rosalind Carmichael

    Description: Dr. Rosalind Carmichael was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  She attended Douglass College and graduated in 1972 with a degree in English.  She earned her Masters in Education from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education (1977) and her PhD in African American Studies from Temple University (2000).  Dr. Carmichael worked as an English teacher at Malcolm X Shabazz High School for over thirty years.    The Rutgers Oral History Archives received a project grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2016-2017 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Cheryl Clarke

    Description: Cheryl Clarke was born in 1947 in Washington, D.C. Her father served in the U.S. Army in the Red Ball Express in France during World War II. Growing up in Northwest Washington, D.C., Clarke attended parochial schools, including Immaculate Conception Academy for high school. From 1965 to 1969, she attended Howard University and majored in English. During college, she worked part time at the Washington Post and at a Peace Corps office. In 1969, Clarke came to Rutgers-New Brunswick as a graduate student in English. She earned her M.A. in English in 1974. She taught courses in the Urban University Program and discusses educational opportunity programs in the interview. From 1972 to 1974, she taught courses in the English Department at Rutgers. A life-long activist, Clarke discusses her many experiences participating in social movements, including the anti-war and Black Power movements at Howard University, anti-apartheid activism at Rutgers, LGBT activism, feminism and lesbian-feminism, and activism surrounding the defense of Assata Shakur. From 1974 to 1978, she worked in Middlesex County in the Comprehensive Employment and Training Program. In 1978, she returned to Rutgers to study social work, obtaining her M.S.W. in 1980. In 1980, she began working in Student Affairs at Rutgers. In 1992, she served as the founding director of the Office of Diverse Community Affairs and Lesbian/Gay Concerns (now called the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities). From 2009 to 2013, she served as the Dean of Students for Livingston Campus. In 2000, she earned her Ph.D. in English. At Rutgers, Clarke coordinated the University-wide Committee to Advance Our Common Purposes and the New Brunswick-wide Bias Prevention Education Committee, in addition to establishing the university-wide network of "Liaisons" and teaching numerous courses. Clarke is the author of Narratives: Poems in the Tradition of Black Women (1982); Living as a Lesbian (1986); Humid Pitch (1989); Experimental Love (1993); After Mecca: Women Poets and the Black Arts Movement (2005); and The Days of Good Looks: Prose and Poetry, 1980-2005 (2006). From 1981 to 1990, she served as a member of the editorial collective of the feminist literary journal Conditions.  
  • Lea Crawley

    Description: Mr. Lea Crawley was born in Danville, Virginia in 1914. He attended Westmoreland High School in Virginia, before attending Hampton Institute for three years and West Virginia State with a major in agriculture. He was drafted during World War II. He served in a segregated Army quartermaster unit, the 953rd Quartermasters Service, in the European Theater of Operations. After the war, he used the GI Bill to study architectural drafting and operated his own business, Burton and Crawley Contractors.
  • Betty Davis

    Description: Betty Davis was born in 1944 in Washington, D.C.  She grew up in Jersey City and Orange, graduating from Orange High School in 1962. From 1962 to 1966, Betty Davis attended Douglass College and majored in political science.  She was active in the local NAACP group.  In the interview, she describes her years at Douglass, including her experiences of being an African American student at Rutgers University. After graduating in 1966, Betty Davis joined the Peace Corps and served in Nigeria. She settled in Toronto, Canada and has spent her career working in computer programming.   Betty Davis' interview is part of a series of interviews called Black on the Banks, named for a conference in 2015 that featured African American alumni of Rutgers University during the 1960s.
  • Michael M. Fisher

    Description: Michael M. Fisher was a star football player at Rutgers University-New Brunswick from 1974 to 1978. He is known as Mike Fisher in the annals of Rutgers athletics. He was born in New Brunswick and grew up in nearby Edison. In his interview, he recalls his experience growing up in Middlesex County, New Jersey, and participating in youth sports through the Pop Warner Little Scholars program. He discusses college sports at length, including recruitment, training, travel, rivalries, and the use of college athletes' image and likeness for promotional purposes in the 1970s. During his time at Rutgers, he was part of the undefeated 1976 Scarlet Knights team and played the first college football game at the Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands. He also shares memories of the social life on campus and the African American fraternities and sororities in the 1970s. This interview was conducted by Professor Deborah Gray White for the Scarlet and Black Research Center.
  • Cornelius Gaither

    Description: Dr. Cornelius E. Gaither was born in Philadephia in 1928.  He attended an all-Black elementary school 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.
  • Wayne Glasker

    Description: Dr. Wayne Glasker is Emeritus Professor of History at Rutgers University-Camden. He is the author of the book Black Students in the Ivory Tower: African American Student Activism at the University of Pennsylvania, 1967-1990.He was born in 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Mary Johnson and Morris Glasker. His parents were part of the Great Migration and had moved from Virginia to Pennsylvania in search of better work opportunities. In these interviews, Glasker discusses his childhood in Philadelphia and his experiences at the University of Pennsylvania from 1974 to 1994. Glasker earned his Bachelor’s degree in History and Sociology in 1980. He attended graduate school at UPenn as well, earning a PhD in History in 1994. During this time, he was active in the Black Student Union on campus, student government, and in the anti-apartheid movement. He discusses his experiences as a student activist and student government leader, as well as the challenges on campus for African American students.In 1990, Glasker began teaching African American history at Rutgers-Camden. He served as director of the Africana Studies program from 1998 to 2011. He describes race relations on campus in the 1990s and student activism at Rutgers. He emphasizes the list of demands from Black student activists following the occupation of the Campus Center at Rutgers-Camden in 1969. He also describes his efforts to increase civic engagement in his classes. This interview was recorded as part of the Black Camden Oral History Project.
  • Patricia Graham

    Description: Patricia Graham was born in Saluda, South Carolina in 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.
  • Harvey Grimsley

    Description: Harvey Grimsley was born in Haleburg, Alabama in 1922. His family fled the racial oppression and violence of the Jim Crow-era South and moved to New Jersey during his childhood. Grimsley attended schools in Bloomfield and then Orange, where his relative Monte Irvin also grew up. Irvin went on to play professional baseball and became a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Grimsley graduated from Orange High School in 1942. During World War II, Grimsley was drafted. He served overseas in Europe in the segregated U.S. Army in an all-Black transportation unit. He and his unit partook in D-Day, the Allied invasion of German-occupied Normandy on June 6, 1944, and landed on Utah Beach. In 1945-'46, Grimsley attended Biarritz American University in Europe and played on the university's integrated basketball team. After being discharged from the Army, Grimsley was recruited to play football at Rutgers, which he attended on the GI Bill. Between '46 and '49, Grimsley distinguished himself as the Scarlet Knight's leading scorer, despite never starting a game under coach Harvey Harman. After graduating in the Rutgers College Class of 1950, Grimsley spent his career working as a coach, including being a high school coach in Newark and Piscataway and working as a recruiter for Governors State University in Chicago. He was inducted into the Rutgers Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.
  • Donald Harris

    Description: 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. 
  • M. Wilma Harris

    Description: M. Wilma Harris was born in 1944 in Paulsboro, New Jersey.  She attended Douglass College and graduated with a history degree in the Class of 1966.  She went on to earn her master's degree in Governmental Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.  Harris worked at Douglass College as Counselor-in-Residence, Assistant Dean of Students and Associate Dean of Students.  In 1977, Harris began working at Prudential and spent the rest of her career there, eventually becoming Vice President of Human Resources.  Harris has an honorary doctorate from St. Peter's College. 
  • Kent Hatfield

    Description: Kent Hatfield was born in 1959 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He grew up in New York City, in the Bronx, where he attended Saint Angela Merici, a Catholic elementary school. After moving to New Jersey, he attended Belleville High School. Following his graduation, he decided to pursue a career in the military, and at age eighteen, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Newark, New Jersey, in January 1978. He completed basic training and advanced training at Fort Gordon, Georgia. During his time in the service, he was initially sent to a post in South Korea called Camp Castle from 1978-1979, before being transferred to Fort Hood in Texas. He was honorably discharged in August 1987. Afterwards, he decided to join the Reserves, where he was active for four years as part of the 78th Division in Morristown, New Jersey. Hatfield was a longtime patron and employee of Manny’s Den, also known as The Den, in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
  • Bruce Hubbard

    Description: Bruce Hubbard was born in 1948 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He graduated from Rutgers College in 1969 and from Harvard Law School in 1972. Mr. Hubbard was a writer and photographer for the Targum, a student representative to the Board of Governors, and a member of the Chi Psi fraternity. Today, Mr. Hubbard is the Principal of Bruce A. Hubbard, P.C., an independent law firm located in New York City.   The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2017-2018 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Arnold Hyndman

    Description: Born in Los Angeles, California, Arnold Hyndman was interested in science from a young age and was encouraged by his teachers to attend programs and assist with research, prompting a career in science and education. During his time in high school, he was able to participate in summer research programs with institutions such as the University of Southern California in their marine animal laboratory. He participated in a school walkout after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  After graduating high school in 1970, he went on to attend Princeton University, majoring in Biology. He attended graduate school at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1974 to 1978 and he earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy and Neuroscience. During his graduate work, he was actively involved in recruiting more students of color to the biology department. He also made quick use of the teaching credentials he obtained from Princeton, working, over the summers, with an Upward Bound program. Dr. Hyndman took his first post-doctoral assignment at Ohio State University in the medical school working on research, before finding himself presented with offers for positions at both the University of California (UCSD), San Diego and at Livingston College. He worked out a compromise wherein he asked Rutgers to hold the position for a year, while he went to UCSD to complete a second post-doctoral program. While working at UCSD, Dr. Hyndman and his collaborators developed a cell culture technique and were among the early describers of the natural cell division and replication of post-mitotic cells.In 1981, he became an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Science at Rutgers, during which time the faculty reorganized into the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). He served as the founding director of what was originally called the Minority Advancement Program and held this position until becoming associate provost in 1990. He established mechanisms to prime the coordination and funding for campus-based retention programs and provided administrative guidance for programs such as the establishment of the university’s Latino Cultural Center and the Asian Cultural Center. He then served as the Dean of Livingston College from 1993 until 2007.  Since 2001, he has been the director of the Organizational Leadership Program. From 2001 to 2008, he also served as the director of the Criminal Justice Program. He is a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience.  Dr. Hyndman served on the New Jersey State Board of Education, in addition to consulting for organizations such as SLS and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. He has obtained numerous credentials, including being an ordained Christian Minister, a New Jersey Teaching Credential, and membership in such organizations as the International Leadership Society and the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. He also serves as Chair of the Elder Board at Abundant Life Community Church, a position he has held since 2012. Dr. Hyndman is Secretary and Treasurer on the Executive Board of the Warren County National Alliance on Mental Illness.
  • Linda Jackson

    Description: Linda Jackson was born in New York, New York in 1953. She grew up in the Bronx and then in Teaneck, New Jersey. She attended Douglass College from 1970 to 1974 and graduated in 1974 with degrees in Theater Arts and English. While at Douglass, she and a friend tried to rush the fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu, though they were not accepted. In the interview, she discusses the theater department at Douglass and memorable professors, being a part of caberet, and the campus climate in the early 1970s. She went on to a career in stage management in theather and opera.
  • Michael Jackson

    Description: Michael T. Jackson was born in Washington, DC in 1949.  He studied African Studies at Rutgers University and graduated in 1971.  Jackson also earned his Masters of Divinity at the University of the South's School of Theology.  He worked in social service and administration and retired as the Executive Director of the St. Vincent's Episcopal House in Galveston, Texas in 2014.
  • Roy L. Jones

    Description: Roy L. Jones was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1946. He spent his early years in segregated Fort Lauderdale. In 1957-'58, he moved to Atlantic City, along with his mother and four brothers, following an aunt who had moved there in the 1940s. He shares his experiences growing up in the Black community in Atlantic City. After attending two HBCUs, he went to University College at Rutgers-Camden and then enrolled in the Rutgers Camden College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS), graduating in 1970. At CCAS, he was active in the Black Student Unity Movement (BSUM). In the interview, he discusses the demands of the BSUM for greater inclusivity and diversity at the University and the takeover of the College Center on February 26-27, 1969. He helped found the Black Cooperative Association, or Black Co-op, in Camden, which provided food, housing, childcare, healthcare and engagement in the arts. He was also a part of the Cooper-Grant Neighborhood Association, which opposed gentrification in Camden. In the second interview, Jones discusses his experiences as an EOF administrator at Rutgers-Camden and his involvement in the Black student protest movement. He also shares remembrances of the Camden uprisings. His work in environmental justice began in 1971 with opposition to building an incinerator in Camden and has continued through involvement in organizations such as the South Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance and the National Institute for Healthy Human Spaces. He delves into his work in addressing water safety issues in Camden and in the city's public schools. He became a Senior Environmental Fellow in 2008 and has authored several publications, including Toxic Schools in New Jersey.
  • Joshua W. Martin III

    Description: Joshua W. Martin III was born to Bernice B. and Joshua W. Martin in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1944. In this interview, Martin describes his childhood in Columbia, formative experience working at his father’s barbershop, and fascination with science. He discusses his decision to go to Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, Ohio, and his experiences there from 1962 to 1966. Following his graduation, he began working for DuPont Company in science and technology. He discusses his experiences as the first Black employee at the professional level at his facility and his projects there, including developing a patent for DuPont. During this period, he attended Drexel University and earned a Master’s in Materials Engineering between 1968 and 1971. He left DuPont and began attending Rutgers Law School in Camden in 1971. He discusses his time at the law school, particularly his work with the local organization Black People’s Unity Movement (BPUM) and his participation in their economic development work, including helping to start a Burger King near the Rutgers campus in Camden. He also talks about his relationship with the community leaders in the BPUM. After his graduation in 1974, Martin went to work for Hercules Incorporated as a patent attorney. He also served on the Board of the Better Business Bureau and the Delaware Public Service Commission. In 1982, Martin became a Superior Court judge for the State of Delaware, and he shares some of his experiences and perspectives on the justice system in the interview. Following seven years of service as a judge, Martin became General Counsel for Bell Atlantic Delaware (later Verizon Delaware) in 1990 and was made President and CEO in 1996. He ended his time with Verizon in 2005, after which he joined the law firm Potter Anderson & Corroon. Additionally, he discusses his work overseeing the delivery of health care and mental health services in several Delaware Department of Correction facilities between 2006 and 2010. This interview was recorded as part of the Black Camden Oral History Project.
  • Bruce McLeod

    Description: Bruce McLeod was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1946. He discusses his family's roots in Jamaica and Cuba and his upbringing in Jamaica. He also explores social classes, regional distinctions, educational opportunities, British colonial rule and the Jamaican diaspora. He attended high school at Wolmer's in Kingston. Following his mother, who moved to the United States first, he immigrated in 1965 and lived in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Motivated to move to America to further his education, he relates the difficulties he encountered. While trying to enlist in the Air Force, he was drafted in 1967. After basic training at Fort Gordon, Georgia, he trained as a medical corpsman at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He delves into his service as an Army combat medic in Vietnam in 1967-'68 and his experiences during the Tet offensive. After his military service, he got married, worked at an architectural firm, and went to school on the GI Bill to obtain an AAS in construction technology. He talks about becoming a citizen three years after returning from Vietnam. During his career, he worked as an architect.
  • Bryant Mitchell

    Description: Part 1 - Bryant Mitchell was born in 1947, in Hampton, Virginia. An art history major, he graduated from Rutgers College in 1969. While at Rutgers, he was named most valuable player for the 1968 football season. He is a 1992 Rutgers Football Hall of Fame inductee. During Mr. Mitchell's first interview, he recalls growing up in Virginia, an early exposure to Civil Rights activism by way of his father, Henry Bryant Mitchell, and his time at Rutgers. He joined the 25th Infantry Division in 1969.  Part 2 - Mr. Mitchell served in the 25th Infantry Division from September 1969 to September 1971 as a combat MP. He was stationed at Cu Chi before being assigned to Dau Tieng. After leaving the military, Mr. Mitchell entered the University of Virginia Law School and graduated in 1975. Currently, Mr. Mitchell works in real estate, owning his own brokerage in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
  • Barbara Morrison-Rodriguez

    Description: Dr. Barbara Morrison-Rodriguez was born in Washington, DC in 1947. She graduated from McKinley Technical High School in Washington, DC and went on to Douglass College. Barbara graduated with a degree in Sociology. In 1979, she earned a Master's Degree in Social Welfare Research from Columbia University's School of Social Welfare and later, a PhD in Social Welfare Research and Evaluation.
  • Simeon Moss

    Description: Simeon Moss was born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey. He went to Witherspoon School and Princeton High School, graduating in 1937. As an undergraduate at Rutgers, he participated in ROTC, played 150-pound football and lacrosse, and was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He graduated from the Rutgers School of Education in 1941. After being drafted during World War II, he served as an officer in an all-Black unit in the 92nd Infantry Division in the European Theater of Operations. Moss was awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star, as well as the Purple Heart after being wounded by a shell burst in Italy. He went to graduate school on the GI Bill, becoming the first African American to earn a graduate degree at Princeton University. He was called up for service during the Korean War and thereafter served in the New Jersey National Guard. During his career, he worked as an educator and administrator in New Jersey. Active in civil rights, he served in the Mercer County branch of the NAACP.
  • Sandra M. Petway

    Description: Sandra "Sandee" Petway started the women’s track and field program at Rutgers-New Brunswick in 1974, a year after joining the University as a physical education instructor. She was the first Black head coach at Rutgers and led the track team until 1980. In 2022, she was inducted into the Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame in recognition of her contribution to women’s sports and the many successes that her track team achieved during her tenure. Born in 1950 in Plainfield, Petway grew up in Vineland. She attended Trenton State College, now The College of New Jersey, where she developed her leadership experience by creating a women’s varsity track team as an undergraduate. In her interview, she discusses her memories of Rutgers athletics in the 1970s and the changes that Title IX brought to the University. She also discusses her family history and the impact that her mother, teacher and principal Pauline Petway, had on the community in Vineland. This interview was conducted by Professor Deborah Gray White for the Scarlet and Black Research Center.
  • Daniel Robinson

    Description: Daniel Robinson was born in Philadelpha, Pennsylvania in 1925.  After graduating from high school in 1943, Daniel joined the Marine Corps.  He did his basic training at Camp Lejeune.  He served in the Pacific Theater during World War II as part of a defense battalion. 
  • Richard W. Roper

    Description: Born in 1945 in DeLand, Florida, Richard W. Roper grew up in Brunswick, Georgia and attended public schools there. As a teenager, he became involved in the civil rights movement through a local chapter of the NAACP. After attending West Virginia State for two years, Roper enrolled at Rutgers-Newark's University College in 1965 and then transferred to the Rutgers Newark College of Arts and Sciences as a junior in 1966. He co-founded the Black Organization of Students (BOS) at Rutgers-Newark and made a presentation to the Rutgers Board of Governors in 1968 to address issues of diversity and representation on campus. After graduating in 1968, he worked for the Department of Higher Education in New Jersey, implementing the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) at its inception. When members of BOS occupied Conklin Hall in February 1969, Roper served as a liaison to the student protesters. He earned a M.P.A. from Princeton University's (then called) Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Early in his career, he worked as an education program director at the Greater Newark Urban Coalition, as an assistant to the director of the Division of Youth and Family Services, as a legislative aide for Newark Mayor Ken Gibson, and as Director of the Office of Newark Studies. He worked in the Carter administration as Special Assistant to Secretary of Commerce Juanita Kreps and then as Director of the Department's Office of State and Local Government Assistance. He held several positions over twelve years at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. He served as the Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's Office of Economic and Policy Analysis and Office of Business and Job Opportunity. He ran his own consulting firm, the Roper Group, and then returned to the Port Authority as Director of the Planning Department. He has served on the Rutgers Board of Governors and on boards at La Casa de Don Pedro, New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools and Bethany Baptist Church in Newark. He is the co-editor of A Mayor for All the People: Ken Gibson's Newark.
  • Deborah Shuford

    Description: Deborah Shuford was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1959. Her parents grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama, before moving to Newark. For most of her childhood, her family lived in the Weequahic section. Deborah attended Chancellor Elementary School and Arts High School in Newark. During one summer in high school, Deborah attended the Technical Enrichment Program at Stevens Tech in Hoboken.  From 1977 to 1981, Deborah went to Douglass College. She began as an engineering major and switched to journalism and English literature. Deborah earned her bachelor's degree in the Douglass College Class of 1981. Deborah worked for many years in the communications field. She interned at WOR-AM talk radio. She worked at ABC Radio and Television Network and then at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).   In 2001, Deborah began studying for her master's degree at American University. After earning her master's in film in 2003, Deborah worked as a professor at institutions of higher education, including McDaniel College, Howard University and Rutgers University, where she developed a variety of courses in film studies and African American studies. She also worked as a producer, writer and documentary filmmaker.   In addition to being an active alumna at Rutgers-New Brunswick, Deborah has volunteered at the New Jersey Tree Foundation and as a career coach at New Start. In the first interview session, recorded on June 8, 2018, Deborah discusses her family's history in Lowndes County, Alabama, notably her grandmother's involvement in the voter registration efforts spurred on by Stokely Carmichael and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in the summer of 1965. In discussing her childhood, Deborah talks about her family, siblings, parents' careers, traveling, education and neighborhoods in Newark.    In the second interview, Deborah talks about the military service of her family members. She traces her family's roots in Alabama and her parents' migration to New Jersey. Growing up in the Weequahic section of Newark, she compares and contrasts the city before and after the Newark rebellion of 1967.   In the third interview session, Deborah discusses her experiences during high school at Arts High in Newark. In 1977, she began attending Douglass College as an engineering major. She switched to journalism and recalls memorable professors Roger Cohen in journalism and Cheryl Wall in English. She describes student life and traditions at Douglass and the impact that Dean Jewel Plummer Cobb had upon her, as well as the college. In the fourth interview, Deborah traces her career and continuing education, and in the fifth session, she discusses her work as a professor, producer, writer and filmmaker.
  • Ronald J. Stokes

    Description: Ronald J. Stokes was born in East Orange, New Jersey in 1946.  During the Vietnam War, Stokes served in the United States Army.  He attended Rutgers-Newark and graduated with a degree in Management in 1983. 
  • Donald Van Blake

    Description: 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.
  • Bernice Venable

    Description: Bernice Proctor Venable grew up in Somerville, New Jersey. In the interview, she discusses being raised by a foster parent after the age of thirteen and the support she received from her community in Somerville. She went to Douglass College, where she sang in the Rutgers University Choir and worked as a reporter for The Caellian. She majored in Spanish. Later, she earned her M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from Rutgers, M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from Rider, and doctorate in Educational Administration from Rutgers. She went on to a career in education as a teacher, guidance counselor and administrator in Franklin, Somerville, Elizabeth, Irvington and Trenton. She served as Superintendent in Trenton for six years and in Irvington for two years. She testified on behalf of the plaintiffs in Abbott v. Burke, the landmark decision in which the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state must ensure parity in educational funding between poorer urban school districts and affluent suburban districts. In 1992, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey). She and her spouse funded a computer lab at the Hale Center that is dedicated to Paul Robeson. After retiring as an educator, she joined AlphaGraphics, working in sales and marketing.
  • Steven Walker

    Description: 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 early 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 early 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, both student-run newspapers operating at Rutgers. After graduating from Livingston College in the Class of 1986, he started his professional journalism career writing for the Herald and News in Passaic, New Jersey.  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 as a field investigator for the N.J. Department of the Public Advocate, he became an investigator for the N.J. Division on Civil Rights.  Walker lives in Montclair, New Jersey with his wife and son.   
  • Clarence Wilson

    Description: 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.