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.

The process of indexing oral history collections from multiple Rutgers repositories is ongoing. Check out the Collections page to learn about the interviews that have been integrated into this portal. This will give you a sense of the scope of the oral histories that have been indexed so far.

How to find an interview

There are three methods to begin your research:

Keyword Search: Simply type a name or keyword into the search bar at the top of this page and hit the “Search” button. Or use Advanced Search to query specific property fields.

Subject Index: Check out the Subjects page to see an alphabetical list of organizations, schools, occupations, and themes mentioned in the oral histories.

Browse Names and Affiliations: Use the People page to browse all interviews by name. This page allows you to narrow down names by the following criteria: 

  • Group, such as Rutgers alumni, faculty, administration, or non-affiliated interviewees. (Non-affiliated interviewees are African Americans who did not study or work at Rutgers University, but who granted interviews to Rutgers historians; they are typically past or present New Jersey residents who share their perspectives on Black life in New Jersey.)
  • Graduating class (relevant for alumni).
  • Rutgers campus (New Brunswick, Newark, Camden) or Rutgers school, such as Douglass College, Graduate School of Education, School of Engineering, and so on.

A sorting feature at the top of the People page allows you to arrange the results by last name, graduating class, or birth year.

How to access the transcript or audio

Once you find the interview you want, click on the interview title or portrait to access interview details in our catalog. Scroll down to Transcript or Recording below the interview description, and click the link to access the text or audio. Some interviews provide both audio and a transcript, others only provide one or the other.

Recently added interviews

  • Oral History: Fisher, Michael M., 2022

    This interview was conducted by Professor Deborah Gray White for the Scarlet and Black Research Center. Michael M. Fisher was a star football player at Rutgers University–New Brunswick from 1974 to 1978. He is known as Mike Fisher in the annals of Rutgers athletics. He was born in New Brunswick and grew up in nearby Edison. In his interview he recalls his experience growing up in Middlesex County, New Jersey, and participating in youth sports through the Pop Warner Little Scholars program. He discusses college sports at length, including recruitment, training, travel, rivalries, and the use of college athletes' image and likeness for promotional purposes in the 1970s. During his time at Rutgers, he was part of the undefeated 1976 Scarlet Knights team and played the first college football game at the Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands. He also shares memories of the social life on campus and the African American fraternities and sororities in the 1970s.
  • Oral History: Glasker, Wayne, 2022

    This interview was recorded as part of the Black Camden Oral History Project. Dr. Wayne Glasker is Emeritus Professor of History at Rutgers University–Camden. He is the author of the book Black Students in the Ivory Tower: African American Student Activism at the University of Pennsylvania, 1967-1990. He was born in 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Mary Johnson and Morris Glasker. His parents were part of the Great Migration and had moved from Virginia to Pennsylvania in search of better work opportunities. In these interviews, Glasker discusses his childhood in Philadelphia and his experiences at the University of Pennsylvania from 1974 to 1994. Glasker earned his Bachelor’s degree in History and Sociology in 1980. He attended graduate school at UPenn as well, earning a PhD in History in 1994. During this time, he was active in the Black Student Union on campus, student government, and in the anti-apartheid movement. He discusses his experiences as a student activist and student government leader as well as the challenges on campus for African American students. In 1990 Glasker began teaching African American history at Rutgers–Camden. He served as director of the Africana Studies program from 1998 to 2011. He describes race relations on campus in the 1990s and student activism at Rutgers. He emphasizes the list of demands from Black student activists following the occupation of the Campus Center at Rutgers–Camden in 1969. He also describes his efforts to increase civic engagement in his classes.