Black Voices at Rutgers currently includes interviews from three existing collections, plus from a new project in progress in Camden. During the first phase of creating this portal, we worked on indexing oral histories featuring Rutgers alumni, faculty, and staff. The process of indexing additional oral history collections is ongoing, and more interviews with New Jerseyans beyond Rutgers will be added to this portal in the future.

Learn more about our collections below.

Rutgers Oral History Archives (ROHA)

Rutgers Oral History Archives (ROHA) has recorded numerous interviews with Black participants, primarily with students and faculty affiliated with the New Brunswick campus. The ROHA collection also includes several interviews with Black New Jerseyans who are not affiliated with Rutgers University, many of which highlight the military experiences of Black veterans. ROHA interviews usually trace the full course of the person’s life, detailing their family history and experiences beginning with childhood memories. Full-text transcripts are available in digital format for this collection, but the audio recordings have not been digitized. The recordings are preserved at Special Collections and University Archives under call number R-MC 025. 

From ROHA’s establishment in 1994 until 2014, it appears that approximately 1% of the interviewees were African American. A greater effort to record interviews with Black participants resulted from the 2015 Black on the Banks conference that brought together African American alumni of the 1960s generation. Since 2015, ROHA has more than doubled the number of Black voices in the archive, and the effort to record interviews with African American alumni, faculty, and staff is ongoing.

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NEW! Black Camden Oral History Project

The Black Camden Oral History Project aims to preserve the history of African American life and activism in Camden, New Jersey. This is a new project led by Kendra Boyd, Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers–Camden, and Jesse Bayker, Digital Archivist at the Scarlet and Black Research Center. Four interviews have been added to Black Voices at Rutgers as a preview. Interviews conducted in 2022 are currently being transcribed and will be added to the website in the coming months.

We are currently recruiting participants for oral history interviews, and we invite African American residents of Camden and alumni of Rutgers–Camden to contact us so we can record your story.

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Rutgers-Newark in the 1960s and 1970s Oral History Collection (R-MC 024)

Rutgers University librarian Gil Cohen conducted 60 oral history interviews as part of a project to document the city of Newark and Rutgers University-Newark as they were in the 1960s and 1970s. This collection includes 11 interviews with Black students, faculty, and administrators who discuss their memories of the 1969 Conklin Hall takeover by the Black Organization of Students (BOS). The interviews were recorded in the early 1990s, and the collection is housed at Special Collections and University Archives in New Brunswick. The audio recordings and transcripts for this collection have been fully digitized.

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Women, Education and Leadership at Rutgers

Thirteen individuals were interviewed by filmmaker June Cross for the documentary From the Boarding House to the Boardroom: 250 Years of Women at Rutgers, which was produced by the Institute for Women’s Leadership Consortium, in celebration of Rutgers 250th Anniversary in 2016. The interviews capture the history and evolution of Douglass Residential College over the past several decades. In collaboration with IRW, the Margery Somers Foster Center has made the the full transcript and video recording of each interview available as part of the Women, Education and Leadership collection at the Rutgers University Libraries Digital Collections portal.

This collection includes interviews with two Black faculty members: Cheryl Wall and Abena Busia.

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