Scarlet and Black Project

Scarlet and Black: An Exploration of the African-American and Native American Experience at Rutgers

The Scarlet and Black Project is a historical exploration of the experiences of two disenfranchised populations, African Americans and Native Americans, at Rutgers University. Its initial work begins with Scarlet and Black, Volume 1: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History, which traces the university’s early history, uncovering how the university benefited from the slave economy and how Rutgers came to own the land it inhabits.  

The committee was charged with seeking out the untold story of disadvantaged populations in the university’s history. 

The project is undertaken by the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History, which was created in 2015 by Rutgers University–New Brunswick Chancellor Richard L. Edwards. With his guidance, the Committee was charged with seeking out the untold story of disadvantaged populations in the university’s history and recommending how Rutgers can best acknowledge their influence. Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History Deborah Gray White chairs that Committee, which comprises prominent faculty, staff, and students.

The Scarlet and Black Project intends to provide a fuller record of Rutgers University by adding to its chronicles the experiences of African Americans and Native Americans—peoples whose experiences are often lost in the pages of history.   


About the images above, l. to r. :
  • Watercolor of Rutgers College by Theodore Sandford Doolittle, 1857. Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries
  • Title page of A Narrative of the Most Remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, an African Prince, as Related by Himself.  His autobiography is considered the first published by an African in Britain.
  • Sylvia Dubois, with her daughter, Elizabeth c. 1883.  Photograph from the Women’s Project of New Jersey Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries.
  • Early map of New Brunswick, [Middlesex County], New Jersey c. 1800-1820. Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries