Rutgers University released the findings of eight months of research that reveal an untold history of some of the institution’s founders as slave owners and the displacement of the Native Americans who once occupied land that was later transferred to the college.
The work is contained in the book Scarlet and Black, Volume 1: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History edited by Marisa J. Fuentes and Deborah Gray White, published by Rutgers University Press.
A team of faculty, graduate students and undergraduates sifted through records in Rutgers Libraries Special Collections and University Archives, the Sage Library at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, the state archives in Trenton, and the National Archives in Washington, D.C., to piece together the forgotten threads of Rutgers’ founding. Students delved into the wills, speeches, journals and property records of Rutgers founders and early trustees. They read through manumission records—the documents slave owners filed to grant freedom to the enslaved—analyzed newspaper ads for the sale of slaves and, in rare instances, had slave narratives to provide missing voices in Rutgers’ history.
For more information about the book and the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History:
- Preview and order Scarlet and Black, Volume 1 from Rutgers University Press.
- Read Chancellor Richard L. Edwards’s message about the book’s publication: Slavery, Dispossession, and the Way Forward for Rutgers.
- See the article in Rutgers Today: ‘Scarlet and Black: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History’ Brings University’s Untold Story Out of the Shadows.