Advocacy and support

The desegregation of NJC’s residence halls was made possible by the protest, advocacy, and financial support of multiple parties on and off campus.


At the college, support came from HEPS, an undergraduate organization comprised of students studying History, Economics, Political Science and Social Science. HEPS members pressed the administration to allow black students to live on campus and organized a fundraiser to help Emma Andrews pay for room and board. Evelyn Sermons was an active member of this club.

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Evelyn Sermons (seated on the left) with fellow HEPS club members, 1949 Quair yearbook

Urban League and the NAACP

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Daily Home News, June 16, 1949

Support also came from the local chapters of the Urban League and the NAACP, national organizations dedicated to African American civil rights. The Urban League offered financial support to Andrews and Sermons to help cover the cost of room and board. As this clipping from the New Brunswick newspaper Daily Home News shows, Andrews and Sermons both "expressed gratitude for the aid from the Urban League which made possible their stay in the N.J.C. dormitories."

Without the aid of outside organizations, it is possible that Evelyn Sermons and Emma Andrews would have been unable to live on campus. It is also important to note that both women volunteered with the Young Adult auxiliary of the Urban League.