Rutgers University & Slavery

Scarlet and Black Research

The New Jersey Slavery Records database first emerged out of a research project that focused on Rutgers University and slavery. Many early trustees, officers, benefactors, and students at Queen's College (now Rutgers University) exploited enslaved labor and participated in the transatlantic and domestic slave trade. This research began with the book Scarlet and Black, Volume 1: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History, edited by Deborah Gray White and Marisa Fuentes (published by Rutgers University Press, 2016). The book provides a deep dive into the history of Rutgers and slavery, telling many stories about enslavers and the Black people they exploited.

Since the publication of the book, we have continued archival research and digitization of primary sources related to Rutgers and slavery. These documents have been integrated into the New Jersey Slavery Records database.

Database Records

There are two ways to identify people who are related to Rutgers University history in our database:

  • Method 1. Go to the PERSONS browsing page and use the Keyword filter. Select the keyword Rutgers University history. This will show you a list of all people in our database whose lives intersected with Rutgers history, including over 30 white men affiliated with the university and over 50 Black people who were enslaved by them and their families. You can then use additional filters to further narrow down your search.
  • Method 2. Go to this custom database index for Rutgers affiliates and namesakes. This index shows you the affiliate's relationship to the university, such as namesake, alumnus, president, trustee, etc.

Virtual Tour

We created a virtual tour of campus sites connected with the history of slavery, dispossession, and the long struggle for racial justice.

Check out the virtual tour: 
Around Campus with Scarlet & Black