About the Scarlet and Black Digital Archive

Created by the Scarlet and Black Research Center at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers University, the Scarlet and Black Digital Archive is a publicly accessible educational resource that features primary sources documenting African American history in New Jersey.

The digital archive sheds light on the history of slavery and dispossession and serves as a companion to the three Scarlet and Black books, which trace the history of race at Rutgers from slavery to Black Lives Matter. We are working to digitize a wide range of historical documents and make them accessible to scholars and educators for research and teaching.

Our digital collections illuminate the history of slavery in New Jersey through primary sources such as runaway slave ads, birth records of enslaved children in Middlesex County, manumission records, and slave sale receipts that document slaveholding among Rutgers officers and benefactors.

Our exhibits highlight the experiences of the first African American students at Rutgers university in the early twentieth century, including alumni of Rutgers College and alumni of Douglass College (previously the New Jersey College for Women). A collection of cartoons from the student magazine Chanticleer shows the racist imagery that awaited African Americans on campus in the 1920s. Collections related to our third book highlight the black student protest movement in Camden and anti-apartheid activism in New Brunswick.

We also explore local black history in digital exhibits about the New Brunswick NAACP’s anti-lynching campaign and the rise of the KKK in New Brunswick in the 1920s. Additionally, we have partnered with the Mount Zion AME Church (the oldest African American institution in New Brunswick) to digitize records from the Alice Jennings Archibald History Library and make them available to the community as part of our digital archive.


For inquiries related to the archive, please contact Jesse Bayker, Research Project Manager and Digital Archivist at the Scarlet and Black Research Center.


Collection Highlights