Rutgers Board of Governors approves naming campus landmarks based on Scarlet and Black research

Following the Recommendations of the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History, the Rutgers Board of Governors has approved naming the new student apartment building on College Avenue in honor of famed abolitionist Sojourner Truth, whose connection to the family of Rutgers’ first president Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh is discussed in our book Scarlet and Black, Volume 1: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History. Rutgers University–New Brunswick Chancellor Richard L. Edwards said naming the new building on College Avenue the Sojourner Truth Apartments is particularly meaningful because the development serves as a focal point for the campus. The first floor of the apartment building houses The Yard, a retail area and public green space that draws people throughout the Rutgers community.

The board also voted to name the walkway from Old Queens to the Voorhees Mall as Will’s Way, in honor of an enslaved man who toiled to lay the foundation of Rutgers’ iconic administration building and whose story was brought out of the shadows by the Scarlet and Black Project.

The Kilmer Library on the Livingston Campus in Piscataway was also renamed for James Dickson Carr, Rutgers’ first African-American graduate who completed his degree in 1892, was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, and went on to attend Columbia Law School.  

It is not a triumphant history when you say my people were slaves, but it is a triumphant history when you say my people had a hand in the building of this nation.

Deborah Gray White, chair of the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History

See the announcement in Rutgers Today: Rutgers Board of Governors Names College Avenue Apartments After Former Slave Sojourner Truth.