This interview was conducted by Professor Deborah Gray White for the Scarlet and Black Research Center.
Sandra Petway, known to her friends and fellow athletes as Sandee, started the women’s track and field program at Rutgers–New Brunswick in 1974, a year after joining the university as a physical education instructor. She was the first Black head coach at Rutgers and led the track team until 1980. In 2022, she was inducted into the Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame in recognition of her contribution to women’s sports and the many successes that her track team achieved during her tenure. Petway was born in 1950 in Plainfield, NJ, and grew up in Vineland in South Jersey. She attended Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey), where she developed her leadership experience by creating a women’s varsity track team as an undergraduate student. In her interview, she discusses her memories of Rutgers athletics in the 1970s and the changes that Title IX brought to the university. She also discusses her family history and the impact that her mother, teacher and principal Pauline Petway, had on the community in Vineland.
Donald Van Blake was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, and during the Second World War served in the "Red Ball Express" as a truck driver. After the war, he was active in the Civil Rights Movement and went on to have a career in transportation.