Alice Jennings Archibald History Library Records (Mount Zion AME Church of New Brunswick)


This collection consists of photographs, manuscripts, church histories, and financial records from the Alice Jennings Archibald History Library at the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church of New Brunswick. Founded in 1827, Mount Zion AME is the oldest African American institution in Middlesex County, New Jersey. The Scarlet and Black Project has partnered with Mount Zion AME to digitize select archival materials and make them available as part of our digital archive.

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Photographs—you can help!

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This collection contains many photographs of church members throughout the twentieth century. Some of the individuals in these photographs have been identified by name, while others have not been identified. Do you recognize a person in a photograph? If so, please send us a message via our contact form so we can update the description of the photograph. 

Related collection—NAACP

Additional items related to Mount Zion AME can be found in our NAACP Clippings and Documents Collection. Mount Zion AME members helped establish the New Brunswick Branch of the NAACP in 1922. Early NAACP meetings alternated between Mount Zion AME and the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Visit our digital exhibit NAACP in New Brunswick: Saving Silas Parmore to learn about the incredible anti-lynching campaign that galvanized local activists in 1923.

About Alice Jennings Archibald

The Alice Jennings Archibald History Library is dedicated to the memory of church historian Alice Jennings Archibald (1906-2002). For many decades, Mrs. Archibald led the efforts to collect and preserve archival materials documenting African American life in New Brunswick. She was instrumental in founding the history library at Mount Zion AME.

Alice Jennings Archibald was an educator and a civic leader. A life-long New Brunswick resident, Mrs. Archibald was also a Rutgers alumna. She was the first African American woman to receive a graduate degree from Rutgers. She earned a master's degree from the Rutgers School of Education in 1938. In those days, Rutgers College only admitted men for undergraduate study, while women attended the New Jersey College for Women (later called Douglass College). But the graduate program at the new Rutgers School of Education was coeducational.

Learn more about Alice Jennings Archibald and her legacy 

Browse all items tagged Alice Jennings Archibald in our digital archive.

Explore Alice Jennings Archibald's oral history interview recorded in 1997—visit the Rutgers Oral History Archives website to access the complete interview transcript.

You can read about Alice Jennings Archibald and about Mount Zion AME in chapter 2 of our book Scarlet and Black, Volume 2: Constructing Race and Gender at Rutgers, 1865-1945.

Mrs. Archibald's perspective on the relationship between Rutgers and its surrounding community is also discussed in our book Scarlet and Black, Volume 3: Making Black Lives Matter at Rutgers, 1945–2020.

Alice Jennings Archibald Park and Mural

In May 1998, the City of New Brunswick recognized Mrs. Archibald's commitment to service and education by naming a park in her honor. The 10.5-acre park sits behind McKinley Community School off Van Dyke Avenue. In 2002, pastor Henry A. Hildebrand said of the park: "When children ask about the Alice Jennings Archibald Park off Van Dyke Avenue, parents should tell them, 'There once lived in this city a grand and noble woman who took the meager and insignificant ingredients that life had given her...and with that she baked an enormous loaf of bread'" (see the Home News Tribune article "City Icon Recalled at Funeral").

In October 2020, New Brunswick-based organization coLAB Arts created a mural series in Alice Jennings Archibald Park celebrating the legacy of Mrs. Archibald in relation to the students of McKinley Community School. The mural draws inspiration from Mrs. Archibald's motto: "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness." Designed by local artist RH Doaz, the mural aims to convey Mrs. Archibald's values: educational rigor, community service, and social justice.

Collection Items

A Salute to Alice Jennings Archibald
A 12-page program for an event honoring Alice Jennings Archibald. Includes a short biography of Alice Jennings Archibald and a small headshot photograph of her on the cover.

The Alice Jennings Archibald History Library Brochure
A trifold brochure about the Alice Jennings Archibald History Library, produced sometime between 2003 and 2009. A photograph of Alice Jennings Archibald is on the front of the brochure.

Clergy mentioned include Rt. Rev. Richard F. Norris, Rev.…

The Significance of this Occassion—160th Anniversary of Mt. Zion AME
Alice Jennings Archibald's remarks for the banquet commemorating the 160th anniversary of the Mount Zion AME Church of New Brunswick on October 25, 1987.
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