Heritage award

1949-06-05 Sunday Times p. 1 - NJC Seniors Receive Top Awards photo.jpg

New Brunswick newspaper Sunday Times, June 5, 1949

Heritage Award speech 1949.jpg

Click the image above to see this archival item and read Davidson's speech

1949-06-07 Award for First Negroes Living on NJC Campus - Central New Jersey Home News.png

Daily Home News, June 7, 1949

On June 4, 1949, Mrs. O. Wesley Davidson, President of the Alumnae Association, presented the inaugural NJC Heritage Award to Emma Andrews and Evelyn Sermons at the Reunion Day Luncheon. Davidson’s speech on this occasion points to the recognition and celebration of Andrews and Sermons as NJC women. Their ability to find their niche on campus and their embodiment of a respectable, non-problematic black womanhood allowed them to carve out a space for themselves and expand the definition of who was an NJC—and later Douglass—Woman. This embodiment of respectability meant that they took their education seriously and excelled academically, contributed to the campus community through their extracurricular involvement, and served their communities. These actions made them model NJC students and the ideal young women to desegregate the dormitories. The Alumnae Association’s selection of Andrews and Sermons as the inaugural Heritage Award recipients allowed NJC to congratulate itself for its embrace of social progressivism. It also positioned black women squarely with the heritage and legacy of NJC.

The award that Emma Andrews and Evelyn Sermons received made news in New Jersey and beyond. Below is an article from the New York Times that calls Andrews and Sermons "interracial pioneers" at the New Jersey College for Women.

1949-06-05 Negro Girls Win Heritage Award - New York Times.png

New York Times, June 5, 1949

Heritage award