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

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)

Video: Scarlet and Black Contributors Share Experience Studying Slavery at Emory Symposium

On September 30, 2021, Scarlet and Black contributors shared their experience studying slavery at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, as part of the 3-day symposium called In the Wake of Slavery and Dispossession: Emory, Racism, and the Journey towards Restorative Justice. This symposium highlighted the ongoing efforts and research in the areas of slavery, dispossession, and restorative justice, with a focus on the legacy of racism and its enduring effects at Emory University. The sessions included creative interpretations and dialogue, with a primary focus on the perspectives of Black, Native American, and Indigenous peoples.

You can learn more about the symposium and view videos from all sessions on the symposium website.

Watch the session recording:

Panel Discussion: Rutgers Experience in Studying Slavery and the Development of the Scarlet and Black Project 


  • Jesse Bayker, Research Project Manager and Digital Archivist for the Scarlet and Black Project (moderator), Rutgers University–New Brunswick
  • Miya Carey, Assistant Professor of History, Binghamton University
  • Beatrice Adams, Assistant Professor of African American History, College of Wooster
  • Tracey Johnson, Scarlet and Black Postdoctoral Fellow, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

New Voices in Slavery + Freedom Studies: Virtual Book Talk with Jessica Marie Johnson – Sep. 23, 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, September 23, 12:00-1:30pm EST

Virtual book talk with Dr. Jessica Marie Johnson (History Department, Johns Hopkins University) on Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World.

Winner of the 2020 Kemper and Leila Williams Prize and Finalist for the 2021 Frederick Douglass Book Prize, Wicked Flesh draws upon archival documents scattered in institutions across three continents, written in multiple languages and largely from the perspective of colonial officials and slave-owning men, to recreate black women’s experiences from coastal Senegal to French Saint-Domingue to Spanish Cuba to the swampy outposts of the Gulf Coast. 

Click here to register

Sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice and co-sponsored by the History Department, Africana Studies Department, French Department, Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies, Black Latinx Americas xLab, and the Institute for Research on Women.

For more information, contact

Scarlet & Black selected as testing partner for On These Grounds digital initiative

We are excited to announce that Rutgers University’s Scarlet and Black project has been selected as a testing partner for On These Grounds: Slavery and the University. Funded by the Mellon Foundation, On These Grounds is a cross-institutional digital initiative to describe the history of enslavement found in archival materials at colleges and universities. This initiative is led by Michigan State University, with core partners at Georgetown University and the University of Virginia.

On These Grounds is developing a linked open data model to organize, publish, and share information about the history of slavery with interested scholars, students, alumni, descendants, and members of the public. Over the next year, Rutgers will work to test this data model while closely examining our institutional archives. In addition to the core project partners at MSU, Georgetown, and UVA, we will work together with testing partners at Washington and Lee University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Georgia, and Hampden-Sydney College.

The Rutgers testing team will be led by Jesse Bayker, Scarlet and Black Digital Archivist, and Francesca Giannetti, Digital Humanities Librarian at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

Check out today’s announcement from On These Grounds for more details about this project.