About Black Voices at Rutgers

Black Voices at Rutgers is a portal that helps you discover African American oral history interviews with a focus on Rutgers and life in New Jersey.


Why Black Voices at Rutgers?

We want to make it easier for scholars and educators to find and access Black voices in New Jersey and Rutgers history. Oral history provides a unique window into people's lives and memories of the past. Rutgers University holds several thousand oral history interviews spread out across different collections, and there is not currently a way to search all collections from one website. Finding Black voices in a sea of oral history interviews can also be difficult because brief interview descriptions often do not mention the interviewee’s racial background or identify the person as a member of the African American community.

Black Voices at Rutgers aims to address this research challenge by creating an index of African American interviewees who have participated in various oral history projects and providing an easy way to search interview descriptions and subject headings. Whenever possible, we are enriching the original interview abstracts by adding photographs of the interviewees and linking to related resources, such as archival documents in our Scarlet and Black Digital Archive or honoree biographies in the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance Hall of Fame.

Who created this portal?

This portal was created by the Scarlet and Black Research Center.

If you have questions about this website, have oral histories to contribute to the index, or would like to use Black Voices at Rutgers as a teaching tool in your classroom, please contact Scarlet and Black digital archivist Jesse Bayker.

Who recorded these interviews?

Multiple generations of Rutgers historians have recorded these interviews over the years. The earliest interviews showcased in this portal were recorded by Gil Cohen in Newark in the early 1990s. Several historians have recorded interviews under the auspices of the Rutgers Oral History Archives from the 1990s until today. Most recently, historians affiliated with the Scarlet and Black Research Center have been working to record the memories of African American alumni, professors, and residents of the communities surrounding our campuses.

Check out the Collections page to learn more about the oral history projects that have been integrated into this portal and the historians who conducted the interviews.