Will's Way

In addition to Sojourner Truth apartments, the pathway from Old Queens to Hamilton Street has been renamed Will's Way. Will was a slave who did some labor in laying the foundations for the Queens College building. This positive trend in recognizing Rutgers connection to slavery and how the University benefitted from slave labor will better serve the Rutgers community by increasing the integrity of the school and bringing visibility to a neglected group of people. 

Will's Way dedication ceremony

Will's Way Dedication Ceremony

Will's Way marker dedication

Marker for Will's Way. Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History Deborah Gray White (left) and Presidential Term Chair in African-American History Marisa J. Fuentes (right), two key leaders of the Scarlet and Black Project, unveiled the temporary new marker for Will's Way.

Will was a man enslaved by Jacob Dunham and hired out to Abraham Blauvelt for performing labor on Old Queens foundation. Will began his work in 1808 and performed over a month's strenuous manual labor. His work included masonry, ringing bells at auctions, casting a workbench and carting heavy loads. Although he did a variety of tasks, it is almost certain Will never received payment for any of his work, but Jacob Dunham did. These records of the labor performed on the college not only represent Will's own labor on Old Queens, but also the countless enslaved laborers whose names will never be known. 

Account of William Jones (record of Will's labor)

Jacob Dunham's account book shows that Dunham hired out his enslaved man named Will to William Jones. William Jones owed a total of $8.00 for Will's work on August 4-13, 1817. This included work as "tending mason" with Mr. Chapman on August 5, 1817.

Record of payment to Jacob Dunham, $5.06 for labor of his negro on the foundation (Old Queens Building construction, entry 15)

On September 28, 1808, Abraham Blauvelt recorded a payment for $5.60 to Jacob Dunham “for labor of his negro.” This "negro" refers to Will. This payment was for "foundation" work. 

Record of payment to Jacob Dunham, $39.88 for his negro's services doing masonry (Old Queens Building construction, entry 130)

On November 30, 1809, Abraham Blauvelt recorded a payment of $39.88 to Jacob Dunham for "his negro's" [Will] services. This payment was for "masonry" work.

Will's Way