Interviewees Not Affiliated with Rutgers University

This index includes interviews with African Americans who did not study or work at Rutgers University. These interviewees are typically past or present New Jersey residents and have much to tell us about Black history in New Jersey.

Preview Interviews

  • Oral History Interview: Armstead, Bryson C. Sr., 2013-03-07

    Bryson C. Armstead, Sr. was born on December 21, 1923, in Haddonfield, New Jersey. He graduated from Memorial High School and worked for Campbell’s Soup before World War II. During the war, Bryson joined the US Navy and served as a steward’s mate. After the war, he pursued college and graduate education on the GI Bill. He received BA in social science from St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, NC, and a master's from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), and pursued additional graduate work at Temple University in Philadelphia. He taught elementary schools for 35 years and retired from the Philadelphia School District in 1986. He lived for many years in Lawnside, NJ, and served as a Lawnside Borough Councilman for 9 years. He served on the Board of Education in Lawnside as well as in Camden. He was a lifetime member of the NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. His community spirit was exemplified through his tireless efforts for more than thirty years to restore and maintain Mount Peace Cemetery, a historic black burial ground, in Lawnside. Mr. Armstead's interview primarily focuses on his early life in Camden County, World War II military experience, and his education following the war. It appears that a second oral history session was planned, but did not take place. Mr. Armstead passed away in 2014.
  • Oral History Interview: Crawley, Lea, 1994-11-03

    Mr. Crawley was born in Danville, Virginia in 1914. He attended Westmoreland High School in Virginia before attending Hampton Institute for three years and then attended West Virginia State with a major in agriculture. He served in a segregated Army quartermaster unit in the ETO during World War II. After the war, he used the GI Bill to study architectural drafting and opened his own business by the name of Burton & Crawley Contractors.
  • Oral History Interview: Gaither, Cornelius, 2014-01-31

    Dr. Cornelius E. Gaither was born in Philadephia in 1928. He attended an all black elementary schooll in West Chester, Pennsylvania before attending an integrated high school. Gaither attended Lincoln University in 1945 and went on to Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee to earn his doctorate degree in Dental Surgery. He joined the Air Force in 1955 and spent three years an oral surgeon in Germany. Gaither retired in 1987 having served over thirty years in the Reserves.
  • Oral History Interview: Hatfield, Kent, 2012-01-06

    Kent Hatfield was born September 17, 1959, in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He grew up in New York City, in the Bronx, where he attended Saint Angela Merici, a Catholic elementary school. After moving to New Jersey, he attended Belleville High School. Following his graduation, he decided to pursue a career in the military, and at age eighteen, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Newark, New Jersey, in January 1978. He completed basic training and advanced training at Fort Gordon, Georgia. During his time in the service, he was initially sent to a post in South Korea called Camp Castle from 1978-1979, before being transferred to Fort Hood in Texas. He was honorably discharged in August 1987. Afterwards, he decided to join the Reserves, where he was active for four years as part of the 78th Division in Morristown, New Jersey. Hatfield was a longtime patron and employee of Manny’s Den, also known as The Den, in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
  • Oral History Interview: McLeod, Bruce, 2011-03-22

    Bruce McLeod was born in Jamaica and immigrated to the United States as a teenager. McLeod then joined the US Army, where he served as a medic during the Vietnam War.
  • Oral History Interview: Robinson, Daniel Edward, 2008-06-13

    Daniel Robinson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1925. After graduating from high school in 1943, he joined the Marine Corps. He did his basic training at Camp Lejeune. He served in the Pacific Theater during World War II as part of a defense battalion. In 2012, Robinson was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal as a member of the Montford Point Marines. In the accompanying photograph, Robinson (second from right) is receiving the Congressional Gold Medal from Congressman Frank Pallone Jr.
  • Oral History Interview: Robinson, David, 1994-12-07

    Daniel Robinson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1925. After graduating from high school in 1943, Daniel joined the Marine Corps. He did his basic training at Camp Lejeune. As a Navy officer aboard the USS Augusta, Mr. Robinson witnessed the Atlantic Conference meeting between FDR and Churchill. He then transferred to the Navy Air Corps and flew combat missions in the PTO during World War II.
  • Oral History Interview: Van Blake, Donald, 2007-12-19; 2008-01-15

    Donald Van Blake was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, and during the Second World War served in the "Red Ball Express" as a truck driver. After the war, he was active in the Civil Rights Movement and went on to have a career in transportation.
  • Oral History Interview: Wilson, Clarence, 2011-03-21

    Clarence Wilson was born in Virginia and migrated to the North during the Great Depression in the 1930s, initially relocating to Pennsylvania and later to New Jersey. During the Great Depression, Wilson worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps, serving in a segregated unit. In the 1942, Wilson was inducted into the military where he served as a truck driver in the segregated 263rd Quartermaster and 3404th Quartermaster Truck Companies and was among the first waves of American soldiers to land in North Africa. Wilson participated in US military actions across North Africa, Sicily, and Italy until the war ended in 1945. After his honorable discharge, Wilson raised a family and worked in the chemical industry until his retirement.