The 250th anniversary of the founding of Rutgers University is a perfect moment for the Rutgers community to reconcile its past, and acknowledge its role in the enslavement and debasement of African Americans and the disfranchisement and elimination of Native American people and culture. The contributors to these volumes offer this history as a usable one—not to tear down or weaken this very renowned, robust, and growing institution—but to strengthen it and help direct its course for the future.

Scarlet and Black, Volume 1: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History

edited by Marisa J. Fuentes and Deborah Gray White

Scarlet and Black Volume 1 Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History book cover

Published in 2016, the first volume documents the university’s early history, uncovering how the university benefited from the slave economy and how Rutgers came to own the land it inhabits. Rutgers’ connection to slavery was neither casual nor accidental—nor unusual. Like most early American colleges, Rutgers depended on slaves to build its campuses and serve its students and faculty; it depended on the sale of black people to fund its very existence.

Scarlet and Black, Volume 2: Constructing Race and Gender at Rutgers, 1865-1945

edited by Kendra Boyd, Marisa J. Fuentes, and Deborah Gray White

Scarlet and Black Volume 2 Constructing Race and Gender at Rutgers 1865-1956 book cover

Scarlet and Black, Volume 2 was published in January 2020. This volume includes an introduction to the period from the end of the Civil War through WWII, an essay on race relations in New Brunswick and the rise of the local Ku Klux Klan, a study of the first black students at Rutgers and New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and profiles of the earliest black women to matriculate at Douglass College.

Scarlet and Black, Volume 3: Making Black Lives Matter at Rutgers, 1945-2020

edited by Miya Carey, Marisa J. Fuentes, and Deborah Gray White 

Scarlet and Black Volume 3 Making Black Lives Matter at Rutgers 1945-2020 book cover

Forthcoming in May 2021, the third volume concludes this groundbreaking documentation and includes essays about Black and Puerto Rican students’ experiences at Livingston College; the Conklin Hall takeover in Newark and the Black Student Unity Movement protests in Camden; the divestment movement against South African apartheid; anti-racism struggles during the 1990s; and the Don Imus controversy and the 2007 Scarlet Knights women’s basketball team.