Black Student Activism in Camden


This collection consists of student publications, flyers, and other materials related to the Black student protest movement at Rutgers-Camden (formerly Rutgers College of South Jersey). Of particular interest is the list of 24 demands issued by the Black Student Unity Movement (BSUM) on February 10, 1969, President Mason W. Gross’s letter to BSUM members Thomas Warren and Roy Jones, and the related memos from the university administration. To gain attention for their pressing concerns, BSUM initiated a dramatic protest action, taking over the College Center (now called Campus Center) in Camden on February 26, 1969, at the same time as the Conklin Hall takeover unfolded in Newark.

Several archival items demonstrate how BSUM protesters aligned themselves with the Black People’s Unity Movement (BPUM), a Black Power organization in Camden led by Charles “Poppy” Sharp.

Issues of the Black Observer newspaper and the Khuluma newsletter produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s showcase Black students’ art, poetry, political analysis, and community engagement.

To learn more about the history of Black student protest at Rutgers-Camden, see the chapter “A Second Founding: The Black and Puerto Rican Student Revolution at Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark” by Beatrice J. Adams, Jesse Bayker, Roberto C. Orozco, and Brooke A. Thomas in our book Scarlet and Black, Volume 3: Making Black Lives Matter at Rutgers, 1945-2020.

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Collection Items

BPUM Liberator Returns Home / Fight Racism flyer
Double-sided flyer for a December 22, 1969, event with Charles "Poppy" Sharp, chairman of the Black People's Unity Movement (BPUM) in Camden, sponsored by the United Black Front. The front of the flyer has an image of Sharp and event details. The…

Memo about City in Crisis brochure / Fight Racism flyer
Camden Defense Committee memo dated November 17, 1969, signed by Robert P. Weber, Chaplain at Rutgers-Camden, regarding a brochure about urban problems in Camden (see the related item: City in Crisis brochure). Defense committee members listed are…

City in Crisis brochure
City in Crisis brochure produced by the Camden Defense Committee in October 1969. The brochure includes information about BPUM and the arrest of the Camden five during a raid on September 8, 1969. The committee's address is listed as 314 Linden…
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