Interview: Epps, C. Roy, 2012


Resource class
Interview: Epps, C. Roy, 2012
Epps, C. Roy
Birth Year
1940s approximately
Birth Place
Bronx, New York
Berkhout, Dorothea
Listokin, David
Location Created
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Date Created
C. Roy Epps was interviewed as part of the City of New Brunswick Redevelopment Oral Histories project at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy circa 2012 (the exact date of the interview is unknown). This research project spanned from 2009 to 2016 and resulted in the publication of the book New Brunswick, New Jersey: The Decline and Revitalization of Urban America (Rutgers University Press, 2016).

The video of Mr. Epps's interview and the accompanying transcript are available in digital format.

Roy Epps grew up in the South Bronx and attended Wilberforce University in Ohio. After serving in the Army, he and his wife settled in New Brunswick, and he worked at Colgate-Palmolive in Piscataway. Following the riots in the summer of 1967, Epps changed his career focus and began as social worker at the Urban League. In 1970, Epps became the president and chief executive officer of the Urban League. During the early phases of the redevelopment process, Epps and the Urban League worked with the Housing Authority and city government to represent the interests of the community. Epps discusses his relationship with Richard Sellars of Johnson & Johnson and how they strategized about development models. They settled on the Hartford model with modifications, such as the inclusion of minorities and women on the board of the New Brunswick Development Corporation (Devco) and that Devco and New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT) work together. In his role as chairman of the Housing Committee at Devco, Epps explores his involvement with residential projects and the development conflict that existed between the downtown area and neighborhoods. Epps says that Rutgers remained isolated, although certain figures were active in the community. Other topics addressed include the involvement of the Middlesex County government, Hiram Market, gentrification, the Cultural Center, financing various projects and NBT’s annual survey.
Rutgers Oral History Archives (ROHA) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Permission to quote from this transcript must be obtained from the Rutgers Oral History Archives.