Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

The Newark Experience: African Americans

Related Pages

Anything Else?

Click on the subject keywords below to search the Rutgers Catalog:

African Americans - New Jersey - Newark

Rise Up Newark

Rise Up Newark
The history of Newark's African American communities (and the ethnic groups with which they interacted) up to 1970. Illustrated with a rich collection of primary documents, including digitized photographs, letters, speeches, maps, videos, oral histories, etc.

African American Newspapers

The Newark Public Library has digitized their African American Newark Newspapers collection. The collection consists of individual issues of African-American newspapers published in Newark, including the Newark Herald, Advance, Herald Advance and New Jersey Herald News published from the 1930s to the 1960s.

The above collection does not include the New Jersey Afro-American, which was published in Newark from 1941 to 1988. Newark Public has the newspaper on microfilm, as does the Rutgers Alexander Library in New Brunswick.

Oral Histories

The Krueger-Scott Oral History Collection
Audio files of over 100 interviews with African American Newarkers who had migrated to the city between 1910-1970, as well as those whose local roots spanned generations. Interviews were conducted in 1995-1999 as a project of the Krueger-Scott Cultural Center.
Krueger Scott Transcripts
The Newark Public Library has transcripts of the Krueger Scott interviews; a number of them are available as part of the Newark Public Library Digital Collections.

Archival Collections

Newark (N.J.) African Americans Collection, 1821-1988.
0.42 linear ft. ( 1 Hollinger box). "Articles (Portions of I.F. xeroxed - mostly biographical information from newspapers), Ashby, William (Manuscript of autobiography, "A Morning in Hell," newspaper clippings, etc.), Baraka, Amiri (Newspaper articles), Black Power Conference (Newspaper articles, 1967, forms, press releases, speeches, stickers, etc.), Blacks (Black History Week, Dr. M. Burch honored, 1977, Journal; phamplets; Essex County College, Black History Week Festival, ECCO Supplement, 1980; Black History Month, Proclamation, 1981; Black History Exhibit: "Deep Are Our Roots,"1984, Newark City Hall; Harold Gibson, program; The Francis W. Harper Literary Soc; Material on Cutjoe Banquantue & others, etc.), "Letters to My Father: A Late Correspondence with Harrison M. Sayre (1894-1935), Founder of My Weekly Reader" by Robert E. Sayre, Moorish Science Temple (Material drawn from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, gift of J. Teague, Irvington, N.J.), People of Color Newark 1821 (from tax ratables),"
Newark Public Library Call Number: Main N.J. Ref. MG NWK AFAM Coll (Main)

Listings of African Americans from the Newark City Directories, 1869-1889.
0.42 linear ft. ( 1 Hollinger box). "This collection consists of a copy of listings of African Americans from the Newark City Directories from 1869 to 1889."
Newark Public Library Call Number: Main N.J. Ref. MG NWK African Americans (Main)

African Americans

Afro-Americans in New Jersey: A Short History
Giles R. Wright. New Jersey Historical Commission, 1989.
From the Colonial Period to the 1980s. Available?
New Jersey and the Negro: A Bibliography, 1715-1966
New Jersey Library Association. Bibliography Committee. Trenton, N.J., 1967. Available?
Jack Cudjo: Newark's Revolutionary Soldier and First Black Businessman.
Kofi Ayim. New Jersey, Reedbuck, Inc., 2011. Available?
Bill of Sale for Teunis
"Know all men by these Presents that I Joseph T. Baldwin of the Township of Newark in the County of Essex, For under consideration of the sum of One hundred seventy five dollars to me in hand paid, have bargained and sold unto James Neilson his heirs and assigns a certain negro man of about twenty six years of age named Teunis, to have & to hold said man unto him the said James Neilson his heirs & assigns forever..." April 20, 1814
Negro Education in the Public Schools of Newark, New Jersey, During the Nineteenth Century Rutgers-restricted access
John R. Anderson. Ed.D. Thesis. Rutgers University, 1972.
Historical and sociological study of segregated public schools in Newark from 1828 to 1909. Extensive statistical tables. Available?
Alpha Lodge No. 116, New Jersey: (An Extract From the Prince Hall Sodality)
Harry E. Davis. The Journal of Negro History 20(2), April 1935, pp. 180-189.
"Alpha Lodge No. 116, of Newark, New Jersey...bears the unique distinction of being the only lodge here made up of both white and colored members and affiliated with a white grand lodge." Among Alpha Lodge's early (1872) African-American members were several engineers, teachers, and a Methodist minister. Rutgers-restricted Access
Notes on Alpha Lodge, No. 116, Newark, N.J.
Harold Van Buren Voorhis. Red Bank, N.J. "Prepared for an delivered to Mystic Brotherhood Lodge no. 21, F.& A.M., Red Bank, N.J. Tuesday, June 3, 1930." Schomburg Library Record
Negro Masonry in the United States.
Harold Van Buren Voorhis. New York, H. Emmerson, 1940.
Part II ("Recognized Negro Freemasonry") devoted to Newark's Alpha Lodge. Available?
Our Colored Brethren: The Story of Alpha Lodge of New Jersey
Harold Van Buren Voorhis. New York, H. Emmerson, 1960. Available?
James Miller Baxter, Newark Principal.
Wilson Moorman. Thesis (M.A.), Newark State College, 1961.
James Miller Baxter (1845-1909), the first African-American school administrator in the Newark school system, served as the principal of the Colored School of Newark between 1869 and 1873. Available?
"Newark's African American Workforce,"
Excerpts from rough draft of Earning a Living, a Federal Writer's Project manuscript delailing Newark's African American workforce before and after World War I. Part of the New Jersey Ethnological Survey Records at the New Jersey State Archives.
The Classified Directory or Negro Business Interests. Professions of Essex County
Compiled by Ralph WM. Nixon for the Bureau of Negro Intelligence. Newark, New Jersey, 1920.
In additions to a classified list of businesses, includes an introduction to the city of Newark and essays on "The Colored Girl in the New Industrial Situation" (Cecelia Dabaniss Saunders) and "Industrial Opportunity for the Negro Girl in Newark," (William H. Ashby).
Reflections on the Life of Negroes in Newark, 1910-1916
William Ashby. An address delivered to the Frontiers Club, February 16, 1972.
Negroes to Hold Big Newark Convention
New Brunswick Daily Home News May 20, 1922.
"The Beleaguered City as Promised Land: Blacks in Newark, 1917-1947."
Clement Alexander Price. IN A New Jersey Anthology. Edited and Compiled by Maxine N. Lurie. Reprint of 1994 edition. Newark, New Jersey Historical Society, 2002, pp. 433-461. Available?
The Afro-American Community of Newark, 1917-1947: A Social History Rutgers-restricted access
Clement Alexander Price. Ph. D. Thesis. Rutgers University, 1975. Available?
African-American Woman Working at a Loom, Newark, 1917.
William Cone photograph
Interview with Mildred Arnold
Transcript of an interview with Mildred Arnold, an African-American woman born in South Carolina who moved to Newark in 1924 at the age of 8. Part of the New Jersey Historical Commission's New Jersey Multi-Ethnic Oral History Project.
"The Inter-Racial Committee of Montclair, New Jersey: Report of Survey of Hospital Committee,"
John A. Kenney. Journal of the National Medical Association 23(3), July-September 1931, 97-109.
Includes (pp. 99-101) the transcript of a radio address by Dr. Kenney on "The Hospital Facilities for Negroes in Newark and Essex County, N.J." broadcast over Station WNJ on Friday evening, June 5, 1931.
E. Mae McCarroll, A.B., M.D., M.S.P.H., 1898- . First Lady of the NMA
W. Montague Cobb. Journal of the National Medical Association 65(6), November 1973, pp. 544-545.
Mae McCorroll, who practiced medicine in Newark for 44 years, was the first African American doctor to be appointed to the staff of Newark City Hospital.
Reports on Newark's African American Population
1934 reports "detailing the lack of opportunities available to African Americans from Newark who were out of work."
Swing City: Newark Nightlife, 1925-50.
Barbara J. Kukla. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.
Discusses Newark as a center for African American music and entertainment in the the first half of the 20th century. Based on interviews with musicians, singers, dancers, comedians, bartenders, waitresses and nightclub owners and their families. Available?
1936 Newark Federal Theater Projects. [Photographs]
Most of African American performers.
"African American Stories: The Newark Eagles,"
Jersey Journeys 2000, no. 4 (February 2000).
The Newark Eagles, the outstanding Negro Leagues baseball team, played in Newark from 1937 to 1948. Profile of owner Effa Manley and players Monte Irvin and Larry Doby.
"The Struggle to Desegregate Newark: Black Middle Class Militancy in New Jersey, 1932-1947,"
Clement Alexander Price. New Jersey History 99(3/4), 1981, 215-228. Available?
To Secure These Rights : A Study of the Political Concerns and Development of the Black Community in Newark, New Jersey, During the Second World War, 1941-1945.
William C. Martucci. Thesis (B.A.), Rutgers University, 1974.
A Henry Rutgers thesis. Available?
Club Fidelis, Inc.: 20th Anniversary, October 16, 1955.
Newark, N.J., Holmes Printing Service, 1955. Available?
Employment Practices in Selected Retail Stores.
Marion L. Courtney. Trenton, New Jersey Department of Education, Division Against Discrimination, December 1956.
Survey of sixty-four retail stores in Newark, East Orange, Montclair, Bloomfield, Paterson, Passaic, Elizabeth, Plainfield, Trenton, Camden and Atlantic City. Focuses on minority, especially African-American, employment but also includes statistics on the employment of Jews and Italian-Americans.
Group Relations in Newark, 1957: Problems, Prospects and a Program for Research.
Chester Rapkin, Eunice Grier, and George Grier. Prepared for the Mayor's Commission on Group Relations. New York, 1957. Available?
Newark: A City in Transition.
Market Planning Corporation. Newark, N.J., 1959. 3 volumes.
Prepared for the Mayor's Commission on Group Relations. Vol. 1: The Characteristics of the Population. Vol. 2: Resident's Views on Inter-Group Relations and Statistical Tables. Vol. 3: Summary and Recommendations. Available?
Securing Equality : The Operation of the Laws of New Jersey Concerning Racial Discrimination
New Jersey Commission on Civil Rights. 1964
"The study of minority groups was focused upon the Negro. The Law School, through the cooperation of Rutgers Urban Studies Center, was fortunate in obtaining the services of Leonard Zeitz, a sociologist and cultural anthropologist, who designed and supervised a depth study of Negro attitudes toward law, lawyers, legal processes and the law relating to discrimination. The students in Social Legislation, second and third year law students at Rutgers, conducted many of the 130 depth interviews of Negro residents of the south side of Newark in December 1963 and January 1964. Professor Zeitz's article, explaining and evaluating the research, is the third part of this study. His findings will be utilized throughout this study as a basis for evaluating the behavior of governmental agencies."
"The Black Experience in Newark: The Growth of the Ghetto, 1870, 1970."
Kenneth T. Jackson and Barbara B. Jackson. IN New Jersey Since 1860: New Findings and Interpretations. Edited by William C. Wright. Trenton, New Jersey Historical Commission, 1972. Available?
"Class and Ethnic Political Relations in Newark, New Jersey: Blacks and Italians,"
Gwendolyn Mikell. IN Cities of the United States: Studies in Urban Anthropology. Edited by Leith Mullings. New York, Columbia University Press, 1987, pp. 71-98.
"Ae study of Newark, New Jersey, where ethnic conflict, characteristic of the late 1960s and early 1970s, has its roots in the historical class development and in interethnic relations since 1900. As economic conditions changed in the mid-1970s, allowing for the penetration of professionals into public and private bureaucracies, the competition between blacks and Italians was tempered." Available?

Legitimized Blackness? Kwanzaa, Citizenship, and Newark
Reniqua Allen. Western Journal of Black Studies 37(4), Winter 2013, pp. 272-284.
"This paper explores the history of Kwanzaa in Newark, New Jersey, examining how some of the first Kwanzaas were celebrated, the role the holiday has played in legitimizing "blackness," and also the significance and impact that the holiday has had on members of the community." Rutgers-restricted Access
Newark: A History of Race, Rights, and Riots in America.
Kevin J. Mumford. New York, New York University Press, 2007. Available?

From Zion to Brick City: What's Going On?: Newark and the Legacy of the Sixties.
Linda Caldwell Epps. Thesis (D. Litt.), Drew University, 2010. Available?

The Persistent Minority: The Black Political Experience in Newark Rutgers-restricted access
Robert Curvin. Thesis (Ph.D), Princeton University, 1975.
Looks at Kenneth Gibson's first term as Newark mayor (1970-1974); concludes that "the lack of substantial change during Gibson's first term is rooted in economic, political, and social structure that operates to protect the status quo, the wealth of the already affluent, and the position and control of those already in power...More specifically, this study attempts to show how a pluralistic society works, over time, to thwart the goals of an oppressed group, even when it becomes a 'majority' in a given jurisdiction." Avaiable?
The Making of the New Ark: Imamu Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), the Newark Congress of African People, and the Modern Black Convention Movement: A History of the Black Revolt and the New Nationalism, 1966-1976 Rutgers-restricted access
Komozi Woodard. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Pennsylvania, 1991. Available?
"It's Nation Time in NewArk: Amiri Baraka and the Black Power Experiments in Newark, New Jersey,"
Komozi Woodard. IN Freedom North: Black Freedom Struggles Outside the South, 1940-1980. Edited by Jeanne Theoharis and Komozi Woodard. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, pp. 287-311. Available?
Unfinished Agenda: Urban Politics in the Era of Black Power Rutgers-restricted access
Junius W. Williams. Berkeley, North Atlantic, 2014.
Junius Williams, Founder and Director Emeritus of the Rutgers Newark based Abbott Leadership Institute, has written a compelling memoir about coming of age in the Civil Rights and Black Power era, with lessons from his Movement experiences in political organizing, as well as a political history of Newark. Available?
Islam Among Urban Blacks: Muslims in Newark, New Jersey: A Social History
Michael Nash. Lanham, Md. University Press of America, 2008. Available?
Noble Drew Ali and the Moorish Science Temple: A Study in Race, Gender, and African American Religion, 1913-1930
Stephanie Ann Wilms. Ph.D Thesis. University of California Riverside, 2014.
Narrating Muslim Masculinities: The Fruit of Islam and the Quest for Black Redemption
Zain Abdullah. Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men 1(1), Autumn 2012, pp. 141-177.
"During the modern Civil Rights and Black Nationalist movements, struggles for racial equality were represented by a quest for manhood...And the Fruit [of Islam] in cities like Newark symbolized the presence of a new Black manhood...This article presents an exploration of masculinist performances, or more specifically how the Fruit of Islam displayed different kinds of masculinities, and the role these practices played in the Black struggle toward liberation and redemption." Based on eight life histories of former members of Newark's Temple No. 25. Rutgers-restricted Access
Narrative of the Krueger-Scott Mansion Project: Constructing Newark History
Katie Singer. New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 3(1), 2017, pp.151-176.
Newark, New Jersey’s once proposed Krueger-Scott African-American Cultural Center (KSAACC) tells a story of history, economy, race, built environment, and much more. The Center’s development mirrors other urban stories with regard to race, preservation, urban failure, and memory, while also offering a unique understanding of Newark’s own history...The KSAACC was met with and has continued to receive resistance from some of Newark’s citizens as well as local journalists and ultimately the very politicians who had at first supported the idea...This paper is about the creation of African-American historical knowledge and the ways America sees fit to make it public knowledge."
Social Mix in U.S. Suburbs: Organized and Informal Interventions in Response to Black Settlement
Laura Pangallozzi. Thesis (Ph.D), New Brunswick, N.J., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2014.
"This project considers the political, social, and cultural geography of black settlement in the inner suburbs of Newark between approximately 1970 and 2010." Available?
When I was Comin' Up: An Oral History of Aged Blacks.
Compiled by Audrey Olsen Faulkner. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1982.
"Life histories of elderly black people in Newark, N.J. from tape recorded reminiscences collected as a project of the Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work." Available?
We Came and Stayed: Coyt Jones/Ras Baraka
Video mingling an interview with Coyt Jones, the father of poet and activist Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka, from the 1990s with an interview with his grandson, Ras Baraka, the current mayor of Newark. Jones came to Newark from South Carolina in 1927. First of a series of stories about families who migrated to Newark scheduled to appear in Newest Americans, a new (Spring 2015) "experiment in collaborative storytelling" from the Rutgers University-Newark Center on Migration and the Global City and the Rutgers University-Newark Department of Arts, Culture and Media.
"Ordinary Miseries,"
Helen M. Stummer. Society 24(3), March/April 1987, 83-
Photo essay. Daily life in Newark's Central Ward in the 1980s. Available?
No Easy Walk: The Central Ward.
Helen M. Stummer. Exhibit curated by Thalia Doukas. Newark, N.J., City Without Walls, 1988. Available?
No Easy Walk: Newark, 1980-1993.
Helen M. Stummer. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994.
Photo essay, covering over a ten-year span, focusing on one family living in Newark's Central Ward. Available?

Photographer Helen Stummer has been documenting the lives of the poorest of the poor in Newark since the early 1980s. In addition to the above publications, she also has a number of photo collections online:

Photos from the Newark Project
Watching Children Grow
How Children Play
Rest in Peace: Urban Caring and Grieving
322 Irvine Turner Boulevard
The Demolition of 322 Irvine Turner Boulevard (1997)

"Talkin' Bout a Crisis: The History of Black Newark. An Interview with Clement Price,"
Blue Newark Culture 1990, 28-45. Available?
The Political Spaces of Black Women in the City: Identity, Agency, and the Flow of Social Capital in Newark, NJ.
Kellie Darice Wilson. Ph.D. Thesis, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, 2007.
"This project explores U.S. Black women's participation in social networks that enable political mobilizations in Newark, NJ." Available?
"The Effects of Centralized Government Authority on Black and Latino Political Empowerment"
Domingo Morel. Political Research Quarterly 69(2), June 2016, pp. 347-360.
"To assess the effects of centralized government on political empowerment among racial minorities, this article examines how state takeovers of local school districts have affected black and Latino descriptive representation on local school boards. Using an original dataset of state takeovers of local school districts from 1989 to 2013, as well as case study analysis of Newark, New Jersey, this article shows that centralization affects communities differently according to the level of political empowerment they have at the time of centralization." Rutgers-restricted Access
"Becoming American, Becoming Black? Urban Competency, Racialized Spaces, and the Politics of Citizenship among Brazilian and Puerto Rican Youth in Newark,"
Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 14, 2007, 85-109.
"This essay examines the performance of 'race,' particularly the appropriation of 'Blackness,' among U.S.-born Latinos and Latin American migrants in two neighborhoods in Newark, New Jersey." Available? Rutgers-restricted Access
"Can't I Be Seen? Can't I Be Heard? Black Women Queering Politics in Newark"
Zenzele Isoke. Gender, Place and Culture 21(3), 2014, pp. 353-369.
"I explore how black women embraced a set of oppositional spatial practices to resist the intersectional effects of misogyny, homo/transphobia, racism, and poverty in Newark, New Jersey. I reconstruct the creation of the Newark Pride Alliance, a local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer coalition that mobilized in 2003 and 2004, after the death of Sakia Gunn. Exploring migrations between ‘black women,’ ‘black queer’ and ‘black feminist,’ I examine how black women respatialized social capital and enacted resistance." Rutgers-restricted Access
Invisible Pathways: Entrepreneurship by Queer Women of Color in Newark
Kristyn Scorsone. Thesis (M.A.), Rutgers University Newark, May 2017.
"This thesis challenges ideas about gentrification and queer economic power by examining the oral histories of queer women of color who are engaged in entrepreneurial endeavors in the city of Newark, New Jersey."
Dreams Deferred: the Sakia Gunn Film Project
"A documentary on the events surrounding the death of Sakia Gunn, a 15-year old African American lesbian who was fatally stabbed in gay hate crime in Newark, New Jersey. The film includes the court hearing, arguments presented by both sides regarding the victim and the accused, and the sentencing." Rutgers-restricted Access
Nobody Knows Her Name: Making Sakia Legible
Kiana Green. Thinking Gender Papers. UCLA Center for the Study of Women, 2009.
Examines "how the narrative of Sakia Gunn’s death, as exemplified by the 2008 documentary film, Dreams Deferred: The Sakia Gunn Project, participates in a tradition of politicizing Black death while also exposing that very tradition of political death, as, ironically, the very cultural formation that allows the Gunn murder to remain unknown in U.S. public culture."
Interrogating Diasporic Identity and Media Distribution Flows, Reception Practices, and Video Film Interpretations of Nollywood Audiences in Newark, New Jersey
Kaia Niambi Shivers. Thesis (Ph.D.). Rutgers University New Brunswick, 2015
"This dissertation examines how the distribution, consumption, and interpretation of “Nollywood” contribute to identity among African-Americans, Africans, and Afro-Caribbeans who live, work, or socialize in Newark, New Jersey. It also shows how the influx of movies from Nigeria and Ghana changes the media landscape of a city that has a place identity of being a 'black city.'"

African Colonization Movement

New Jersey's Role in the African Colonization Movement, 1790-1865.
Michael J. Caputo. (Master's Thesis) Montclair State College, 1965. Available?
"Colonizers and Reluctant Colonists: The New Jersey Colonization Society and the Black Community, 1815-1848"
Douglas P. Seaton. New Jersey History 96(1-2), Spring-Summer, 1978, pp. 7-22. Available?
A Word for the African: A Sermon for the Benefit of the American Colonization Society, Delivered in the Second Presbyterian Church, Newark, July 24, 1825
Rev. William T. Hamilton, Newark, Printed by W. Tuttle & Co., 1825. Available?
Our Duty to our Coloured Population.
Philip Courtland Hay. Newark, N.J., Printed by W. Tuttle & Co., 1826.
A sermon for the benefit of the American Colonization Society, delivered in the Second Presbyterian Church, Newark, July 23, 1826. Available?
A Sketch of the Colonization Enterprise, and of the Soil, Climate and Production of Liberia, in Africa
Colonization Society of the City of Newark. Newark, 183?
Letter to the Editor
Lucius. The Colored American, July 21, 1838, p.86.
Reaction to the Colonization Meeting held in Newark.
The Colonization Scheme Considered, in Its Rejection by the Colored People--In Its Tendency to Uphold Caste--In Its Unfitness for Christianizing and Civilizing the Aborigines of Africa, and For Putting a Stop to The African Slave: In a Letter to The Hon. Theodore Frelinghuysen and The Hon. Benjamin F. Butler
Samuel E. Cornish and Theodore S. Wright, Pastors of the Colored Presbyterian Churches in the Cities of Newark and New York. Newark, N.J., Printed by Aaron Guest, 1840. Available?
Historical Notes on Slavery and Colonization: With Particular Reference to the Efforts Which Have Been Made in Favor of African Colonization in New-Jersey
Heinrich Kronstein. Elizabeth-town, Printed by E. Sanderson, 1842.
Appendix includes a list of the members of the Newark auxiliary colonization society in April 1838 and other documents.

© , Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rutgers is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers websites to or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback form.