Jesse Bayker

Scarlet and Black Research Center
Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice
Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Office: Academic Building West 6101
15 Seminary Pl., New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Dr. Jesse Bayker is the Research Project Manager and Digital Archivist at the Scarlet and Black Research Center. The center is an arm of the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

Dr. Bayker curates the Scarlet and Black Digital Archive, which uses historical primary sources to shed light on the legacy of slavery and dispossession at Rutgers University. He has contributed chapters to two volumes of the Scarlet and Black book series published by Rutgers University Press. His research for Scarlet and Black, Volume 1, focused on the lived experiences of enslaved individuals in Rutgers history. For Scarlet and Black, Volume 3, he wrote about the Black student protest movement at Rutgers­–Camden. He is now working to preserve Camden history through the Black Camden Oral History Project.

As part of his work with Scarlet and Black, Dr. Bayker leads the Rutgers team in our partnership with On These Grounds. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and managed by Michigan State University, On These Grounds is a cross-institutional digital humanities project aiming to develop a Linked Open Data ontology for describing the lives of enslaved individuals who labored at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

In addition to his work on African American history in New Jersey, Dr. Bayker researches transgender history. He is writing a book about transgender lives and practices in nineteenth-century America. His article “Some Very Queer Couples: Gender Migrants and Intimacy in Nineteenth-Century America” appeared in the journal Gender & History and received honorable mention for the 2022 Audre Lorde Prize from the Committee on LGBT History. His chapter “Regulating Public Gender and the Rise of Cross-Dressing Laws” is forthcoming in The Cambridge History of Sexuality in the United States, co-edited by Jen Manion and Nick Syrett.

Dr. Bayker received a PhD in History from Rutgers University and a BA in History and LGBTQ Studies from CUNY Brooklyn College. He completed an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at the Museum of the City of New York where he worked to interpret nineteenth-century history and material culture for diverse audiences.

Recent news and presentations

Black Camden Oral History Project news

Article about the Black Camden Oral History Project: Preserving Perspectives, Rutgers Alumni News, January 10, 2022.

Visit the project website:

Beyond the Dream: LGBTQ+ Leaders in the Civil Rights Movement

Webinar at Rutgers–Camden

Rutgers Experience in Studying Slavery and the Development of the Scarlet and Black Project

Panel at Emory University’s symposium In the Wake of Slavery and Dispossession.