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Special Collections and University Archives: African American History Resources

A guide to African American history resources held by Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives.


Paul Robeson (1898-1976)

Born in Princeton, Paul Robeson was a celebrated athlete, singer, actor and political activist. The third black student at Rutgers, Robeson was an outstanding scholar, and an All-American athlete. His advocacy of Marxism, however, led to persecution by the U.S. government and virtually ended his career.

Ernest Thompson (1907-1971)

Ernest Thompson was a union official who helped found the National Negro Labor Council, and was also a community activist who helped bring about political and economic gains for African Americans in Orange, New Jersey, and nearby communities.

John W. Alexander (1919-1990)

John Alexander was a pediatrician and educator who was integral to the development of the Children's Hospital in Newark, NJ. His papers document his activities as the first African American president of the Orange, NJ Board of Education where he created a desegregation plan for the town.

Shirley Chisholm (1925-2005)

Shirley Chisholm was an American politician, educator and author. She was the first African American woman to be elected to Congress, in 1968, representing New York's 12th congressional district for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. The collection contains speeches, congressional files, newsletters, newspaper and magazine articles, photographs, campaign miscellany, and audio cassettes. 

Frances Barboza-Clark (1938-)

Frances Barboza-Clark was a feminist and political activist, becoming a member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1973. She was involved with NOW at the chapter, state and national levels, and an active member of in the Task Force to Combat Racism, ERA Task Force and Battered Women Task Force as well as the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. 

Donald Harris (1940-)

Donald S. Harris graduated from Rutgers in 1963 and was an active Civil Rights activist during this time. He was arrested in Americus, Georgia, while trying to help register African American voters and spent several months in prison. His alumni file contains newspaper clippings and correspondence from his time at Rutgers. 

See also: Papers of members of congress

Additional Information

Please contact Special Collections and University Archives reference services for additional finding aids and resources not available online. 


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