Black Studies Librarian job posting

The Rutgers University Libraries seek an innovative, collaborative and service-oriented librarian to serve as Black Studies Librarian. This new grant-funded position will support the work of the Black Bibliography Project, a Mellon Foundation supported project based at Yale University and Rutgers. Working with a team of faculty, librarians, technicians, and students across both institutions, the position will carry out data curation activities surfacing the publication histories of Black print of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as relationships among Black writers, publishers, and readers. It is expected that the Librarian will develop and contribute expertise in descriptive bibliography and linked data in order to test and implement the BBP’s data model. The position will also work with the Scarlet and Black Research Center, whose digital archive documents Black history in New Jersey, starting with the connections between slavery and the university and leading up to the present day. In addition to contributing to these projects, the Black Studies Librarian will be the subject liaison to the Department of Africana Studies and the Center for African Studies with responsibilities in reference, instruction, and collection development.

The Black Studies Librarian will:

  • engage with students and faculty who study Black history and culture to provide instruction, research, consultation, and outreach
  • develop and manage inclusive and accessible collections in support of Black and Africana Studies 
  • participate in a dynamic and proactive information literacy program
  • contribute to digital and public humanities initiatives
  • foster close intellectual partnerships between the Libraries and the academic community
  • support new modes of scholarly communication
  • build partnerships and co-curricular collaborations that advance teaching and learning; participate in university-wide initiatives, committees, and task forces as appropriate to the role

Reporting to the Associate University Librarian for Rutgers-New Brunswick, the Librarian will serve as a member of the New Brunswick Libraries Faculty. This is a grant funded, non-tenure-track faculty position, with a three-year term of appointment.

STATUS/BENEFITS: Faculty status; 12-month appointment; retirement plan; life/health insurance; prescription drug, dental, and vision plans; tuition remission; 22 vacation days annually.

This is a grant funded, non-tenure-track faculty position.

Minimum Education and Experience

• Master’s degree from an ALA accredited library school and/or advanced degree in relevant academic disciplines
• Academic background or professional experience demonstrating expertise in Black Studies.
• Familiarity with reference and instruction in an academic setting
• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
• Ability to work collegially in a team-oriented environment
• A demonstrated commitment to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion

• An advanced degree in a relevant field
• Minimum of one year of professional experience in Black Studies
• Experience with digital humanities tools and/or methodologies
• Familiarity with metadata in the context of digital humanities projects, especially descriptive bibliography for rare print materials
• Familiarity with linked open data, digital archives and exhibits, and experience using Wikibase and Omeka

It should be noted that preferred qualifications are not required and the Libraries are committed to enabling the colleague recruited for this position to develop those skills. Individuals with an interest in the position who meet the required qualifications are strongly encouraged to apply.


Review of applications and interviews will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Submit resume, cover letter, and names of three references.

For more information and to apply, visit

Rutgers University Libraries seek to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for learning and work for the students, faculty, and staff of the University. The Libraries actively embrace the Rutgers vision of a “beloved community” defined by a commitment to work together to embody, reflect, and respect the complexities and differences of all our parts. The Libraries serve all institutions that make up Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey: Rutgers University–New Brunswick, Rutgers University–Newark, Rutgers University–Camden, and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. The Libraries have a highly valued staff of about 300, who are committed to innovation in access services, information literacy, and digital initiatives. Rutgers University Libraries operate with a budget of $45 million and have outstanding collections, especially in jazz and New Jerseyana. Collectively, the Libraries’ holdings include more than 4.8 million volumes. The Libraries hold memberships in ARL, BTAA, CNI, CRL, Lyrasis, NERL, PALCI, ValeNJ, SPARC (and COAPI), and use Ex Libris’ Alma and Primo, and OCLC.

Rutgers University–New Brunswick
As the flagship of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers University–New Brunswick supports over 50,000 graduate and undergraduate students in approximately 100 undergraduate programs, more than 80 graduate/professional programs, and 60 doctoral programs. Ranked by US News & World Report as among the top 25 public universities, Rutgers–New Brunswick is classified as an R1 Doctoral University (Highest research activity) by the Carnegie Classification. Spanning New Brunswick, Piscataway, and adjacent towns in central New Jersey, Rutgers–New Brunswick is accessible by public transit. 

Black Bibliography Project highlighted in Rutgers Today

Rutgers Researcher Developing Digital Bibliography of Black Authors and Print Work

This article by John Chadwick was featured in Rutgers Today on July 27, 2022.

A Rutgers researcher is teaming up with a professor from Yale to develop a digital database dedicated to the study of Black-authored and Black-published books, magazines and newspapers. 

The Black Bibliography Project, funded through a $1.7 million grant from the Mellon Foundation, seeks to remedy what scholars say is a dearth of accurate, organized data about Black print.  

The project’s mission is to provide a central clearinghouse of information that will be easily accessible to scholars and students of literature, history, Black diaspora studies and other fields. 

“I am tremendously excited by what this grant will bring to Rutgers and the many kinds of collaboration it will make possible,” said Meredith McGill, chair of the Department of English in the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences.

McGill is co-director of the initiative with Jacqueline Goldsby, a professor of English, African American studies and American studies at Yale. 

The two professors said their work builds upon a history of efforts by scholars, librarians and private collectors to identify, curate and provide access to primary source collections of writings by Black Americans.

But the project aims to go beyond collecting and curating: McGill and Goldsby want to revive the practice of descriptive bibliography – the study of books as physical objects – and apply it to Black literary studies.

Descriptive bibliography explores the production and circulation of books with the goal of uncovering insights into the role of print in human history. 

For example, McGill, a scholar of 19th-century literature, noted how the early writings of Black abolitionist lecturers Frances E.W. Harper and Sojourner Truth were pamphlets produced by white newspapermen sympathetic to the abolitionist movement.

“We think of their writings as appearing in books, but they were actually published in portable formats that could be sold or given away on their lecture tours,” McGill said. “And that’s why we’re interested in descriptive bibliography, to learn those types of stories that enrich our understanding.”

Using web technologies such as Linked Data and Wikibase, the bibliography project will cast a light on the world of Black print by allowing users to find connections and relationships that had previously gone undetected. The database will link Black authors with their publishers, show the locations where their books were produced and sold and identify crucial individuals who owned or interacted with the works through the years.

Scholars will be able to pursue challenging questions, such as which slave narratives had copyrights taken out in the names of their authors and which in the names of the publisher or whether mid-20th-century Black novels were more likely to be published in New York, Chicago or Atlanta. 

Goldsby and McGill have been overseeing a pilot program since 2019, leading a team that includes librarians and curators from Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, graduate students from Yale and Rutgers and scholar-consultants from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Delaware and Princeton University. The pilot also has been supported through the Mellon Foundation.

The grant will support the project through 2025 and allow Goldsby and McGill to assemble a larger team and begin the process of connecting with library and archival repositories nationwide to feed the database.

For McGill, a Rutgers professor since 1996, the project provides an array of benefits to the university community. Graduate students, for example, can learn descriptive bibliography at Yale’s Beinecke Library, one of the world’s premier collections of African American literature. 

“Both Rutgers and Yale are known for their strengths in African American literary studies,” McGill said. “This grant from the Mellon Foundation will draw students and faculty from both universities together with rare book expert librarians and information design specialists to build an unprecedented knowledge base for African American studies.”

Black Camden Oral History Project featured in Rutgers Magazine

The Black Camden Oral History Project was featured in the summer 2022 issue of the Rutgers Magazine. This project is led by Kendra D. Boyd, assistant professor in the Department of History at Rutgers-Camden and an Early Career Faculty Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, and Jesse Bayker, the research project manager and digital archivist at the Scarlet and Black Research Center.

Look out for the print issue in your mailbox or check out the interview with the project leaders online: “The Oral History of Camden” by David M. Major.

The uncertain times we’re living in certainly remind us that now is the time to record and preserve the important stories and contributions of living historical figures. The people we are interviewing, and hope to interview, are of a generation that is starting to retire, and that’s a great time to reflect on the past. For those who passed through Rutgers–Camden in the 1960s and 1970s and are finishing their careers, they can reflect on what their trajectory has been—and how their activism and experiences at Rutgers shaped their lives.

– Kendra D. Boyd

Check out our related oral history website Black Voices at Rutgers.

New Voices in Slavery + Freedom Studies: In-Person Book Reception with Yesenia Barragan – Mar. 28, 2022

March 28, 2022 at 4:00-5:30 pm

Location: Hageman Hall
New Brunswick Theological Seminary
35 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, NJ

To register for this in-person event, please fill out the form below.

Join the Slavery + Freedom Studies Working Group to celebrate Dr. Yesenia Barragan’s new book, Freedom’s Captives: Slavery and Gradual Emancipation on the Colombian Black Pacific (Cambridge University Press, 2021). This reception will feature brief remarks from Dr. Camilla Townsend on the contributions of Freedom’s Captives. In addition to recognizing this new publication, we look forward to this event as an opportunity to gather together and socialize among our interdisciplinary group of scholars and graduate students in the working group and beyond.

Hosted by the Slavery + Freedom Studies Working Group at the Scarlet and Black Research Center, sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice.

Scarlet and Black Postdoctoral Fellowships 2022–2024

The Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice (ISGRJ) at Rutgers University (New Brunswick Center) and the School of Arts and Sciences invite applications for the 2022–2024 Scarlet and Black Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Scholars engaged in the examination of the global dimensions of anti-Black racism and its impact upon the Americas (1580 to the present) are invited to apply. We are interested in research projects that examine the origins, evolution, impact, and legacy of race, difference, and the modern quest for civil and human rights.

The successful applicant must have the doctorate in history at the time of application and be no more than five years beyond receipt of the Ph.D. This two-year fellowship carries an annual salary of $60,000, health benefits, and a $5,000 research allowance.

In addition to teaching one course per year within the Department of History at Rutgers–New Brunswick, fellows will participate in weekly seminars and contribute to ongoing projects connected to the Scarlet and Black Research Center ( Fellows will be expected to participate in the intellectual life of the ISGRJ and to acknowledge the support of the ISGRJ in publications and lectures that stem from work conducted during the fellowship term. All fellows will be expected to offer one public presentation during their tenure at Rutgers.

Eligibility and Criteria*

Applicants must have completed and been awarded their Ph.D. in a humanities-related field no more than five years prior to the date of application.

Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Statement It is university policy to provide equal employment opportunity to all its employees and applicants for employment regardless of their race, creed, color, national origin, age, ancestry, nationality, marital or domestic partnership or civil union status, sex, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, disability status, liability for military service, protected veteran status, affectional or sexual orientation, atypical cellular or blood trait, genetic information (including the refusal to submit to genetic testing), or any other category protected by law. As an institution, we value diversity of background and opinion, and prohibit discrimination or harassment on the basis of any legally protected class in the areas of hiring, recruitment, promotion, transfer, demotion, training, compensation, pay, fringe benefits, layoff, termination or any other terms and conditions of employment. For additional information please see the Non-Discrimination Statement at the following web address:

* Eligibility includes individuals with current status under the DACA Program, as well as individuals whose status may have lapsed but who continue to meet all the USCIS guidelines for DACA.

Application Guidelines

Applications should be addressed to Professor Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Post-Doc Search Chair, and submitted electronically to

Applications should include the following materials: letter of interest, C.V., research proposal, writing sample (no longer than 15 pages), and at least three confidential letters of reference. The deadline for applications is March 15, 2022.

Preserving Perspectives: Black Camden Oral History Project

A new oral history project by professor Kendra Boyd and digital archivist Jesse Bayker is gathering stories of Black student activism at Rutgers University–Camden.

This article by Jared Brey was featured in Rutgers Alumni News on January 10, 2022.

In 1969, a group of Black student activists at Rutgers–Camden occupied the campus student center with a list of two dozen demands for the administration, including removing racist faculty members, hiring additional Black faculty and staff, and establishing a Black studies department. The protest made headlines, and the events and their aftermath seemed to have been documented for posterity. But when one of the student participants, Roy L. Jones CCAS’70, sat down for a recent interview with the Black Camden Oral History Project, he shared a degree of detail about tactical deliberations between the student protesters that wasn’t reflected in the record.

“He was able to tell us the conversations that students were having before they took dramatic action, before they staged a protest,” says Jesse Bayker, digital archivist at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice and co-creator of the project. “Getting insight into those kinds of conversations and seeing some of the disagreements and how they shaped the course of activism at Rutgers–Camden was enlightening.”

The Black Camden Oral History Project grew out of the Scarlet and Black Project, an ongoing re-examination of the legacy of slavery and dispossession at Rutgers University and in New Jersey. Bayker GSNB’19 and assistant professor of history Kendra Boyd GSNB’17 spearheaded the oral history project and teamed up with the Rutgers Oral History Archives to collect the stories of Black alumni, faculty, staff, and community members via interviews to develop an accurate, more granular picture of Black life at the university and in surrounding communities. Both projects, Bayker says, are part of a larger reckoning in American universities about the history of race and institutional racism.

The power of perspective

Boyd and Bayker are still interviewing people who (like Jones) were involved in the Black student protest movements at Rutgers–Camden, as well as alumni and community members who participated in or lived through the Black Power and civil rights eras in Camden. They’re also looking for interviewees with experiences in Black business, entrepreneurship, and social and cultural life.

First-person interviews, Boyd says, are uniquely capable of complementing other archival materials. “Oral history is important because you get to hear the words of people who lived through an experience from their own perspective,” she says. “It’s one thing to look at a historical document—a newspaper clipping, for instance. You’re going to get a general understanding of what events took place, but you’re getting an interpretation of the journalist. When you do an oral history interview, not only do you get a participant’s perspective on or memory of an event, but you can also learn more about their entire life.”

The new interviews will be cataloged over the next several years and made available to students and researchers working on their own historical projects. Already, Boyd says, the interviews resonate in her own research and teaching.

“I teach African American history, and students are hungry for and respond to this history—particularly if they hear it from people who were present, people that they can relate to,” Boyd says. “I’m hoping students will see some of the key historical themes in African American history at play right here in Camden, and that will help them to understand history better and to contextualize the continued struggle for Black freedom.”

Have a story to share?

Boyd and Bayker are casting a wide net for interviewees and soliciting suggestions for people to interview for the project. Participants will receive a written transcript of their interview as a keepsake that they can use to preserve their own family history. Interested parties can contact the researchers through the website.

“I just want people to know that their stories are valuable,” Bayker says. “Even if they’ve never thought that their story should be archived or that their story is a part of history, we want our African American alumni to understand they are a very important part of Rutgers history. We need to preserve their stories, and we need their help to ensure that their stories are recorded and remembered properly.”

Also in the works…

In addition to conducting interviews, Bayker has created a research tool called Black Voices at Rutgers to help students and community members discover African American oral history interviews housed at various repositories across Rutgers. Existing interviews have provided helpful research for the three-volume series of Scarlet and Black books edited by Marisa J. Fuentes and Deborah Gray White. Bayker and Boyd have each contributed chapters to the books, and Boyd also served as a co-editor of the second volume. The third volume in the series—Making Black Lives Matter at Rutgers, 1945–2020—was published earlier in 2021 by Rutgers University Press. The books can be ordered at Scarlet and Black: Books.

Black Camden Oral History Project is Recruiting Participants

A new oral history project is gathering stories of Black alumni at Rutgers University–Camden. The Black Camden Oral History Project grew out of the research for our recently published book Scarlet and Black, Vol. 3: Making Black Lives Matter at Rutgers, 1945–2020, edited by Miya Carey, Marisa J. Fuentes, and Deborah Gray White. While archival research helped us reconstruct important events in the history of Black student protest at Rutgers–Camden, our work for the book also highlighted the urgent need to preserve the memories of Camden alumni and local community leaders through oral history interviews.

Kendra Boyd (Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers–Camden and ISGRJ Early Career Fellow) and Jesse Bayker (Research Project Manager / Digital Archivist at the Scarlet and Black Research Center) teamed up with the Rutgers Oral History Archives to interview African American alumni as well as community leaders and entrepreneurs in Camden.

Recruitment is currently underway, and we encourage you to contact the Black Camden Oral History Project to learn more and schedule an interview.

Visit to learn more about the Black Camden Oral History Project.

Video: Livingston – A Governor, a College, and the Long Echoes of Slavery at Rutgers – Jan. 18, 2022

January 18, 2022 at 6:00-7:00PM EST

A new historical marker on Rutgers–New Brunswick’s Livingston campus explains its namesake William Livingston’s deep involvement in slavery and his halting efforts to abolish slavery as New Jersey’s first governor.

In this virtual presentation, Robert Snyder LC’77, a professor emeritus of journalism and American studies at Rutgers–Newark, will talk with Jesse Bayker SGS’19, digital archivist for the Scarlet and Black Project at Rutgers–New Brunswick, who will discuss Livingston’s life.

Brooke A. Thomas, an African American history doctoral candidate at Rutgers–New Brunswick, will share the importance of Livingston College to Rutgers, why it was created, and how activism was one of its important contributions to Rutgers. Thomas is also a co-author of the chapter “We the People: Student Activism at Rutgers and Livingston College, 1960–1985” in Scarlet and Black, Volume 3.

Livingston College graduates Snyder and Debra O’Neal LC’87 will share their experiences of educational innovation and campus activism from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. The discussion will end with a question-and-answer forum.

This event is sponsored by the Rutgers University Alumni Association, the Livingston Alumni Association, and the Rutgers Alumni Association.

Video: The Scarlet and Black Project with Deborah Gray White and Michelle Stephens

Dr. Michelle Stephens, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, sat down with Dr. Deborah Gray White, Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History, to talk about the research, legacy, and future of the Scarlet and Black Project.

This webinar took place on October 8, 2021, and was sponsored by the Rutgers University Alumni Association.

Watch the webinar recording:

New Voices in Slavery + Freedom Studies: In-Person Book Talk with Vanessa Holden – Nov. 11, 2021

The Slavery + Freedom Studies Working Group at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice presents

New Voices in Slavery + Freedom Studies

Thursday, November 11, 4-5:30pm

An in-person book talk with Dr. Vanessa M. Holden (University of Kentucky, RU PhD ’12) on her book Surviving Southampton: African American Women and Resistance in Nat Turner’s Community.

Location: Hageman Hall
New Brunswick Theological Seminary
35 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, NJ

Sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice. Co-sponsored by The History Department and the Institute for Research on Women

Yesenia Barragan (History), Nathan Jérémie-Brink (NBTS), and Adam McNeil (History)