Every February, the United States honors the contributions and sacrifices of Black Americans who have helped shape the nation. Black History Month recognizes the rich cultural heritage, triumphs, and adversities that are an indelible part of our country’s history. Rutgers is proud to celebrate this community—as well as everyone else in our beloved community—every day of the year.
Being part of a community means actively engaging the unique perspectives of our many members on their own terms and through their own voices. The following programs, resources, and involvement opportunities represent only a portion of what Rutgers has to offer and are not an exhaustive list. They are all part of the university’s commitment to help students, alumni, faculty, staff, and partners work together to embody, reflect, and respect the complexities of all our parts.
Find out how Rutgers’ faculty, students, and publications are advancing knowledge and giving a voice to issues that impact the community.
Members of the university community share reflections on those who fought for freedom, equal rights, and dignity for all and call on us to address the systemic racism that continues to afflict the nation. As we celebrate the great accomplishments of Black Americans this month, we also acknowledge that 28 days are not enough to honor the names that are familiar and the people who were never able to have their contributions recognized.
Research project: Insurgent Intersections
Insurgent Intersections, a multiyear project of the Department of Africana Studies at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, explores how the discipline informs global, intersectional struggles against anti-Blackness and approaches to anti-Blackness in other academic disciplines. Each semester is devoted to a theme that brings together scholars, students, artists, and activists to exchange their unique insights and perspectives. The theme for spring 2022 is The Roots of Global Anti-Blackness, which will feature a series of works in progress and a multidisciplinary webinar.
The roots of systemic racism run deep. But how deep are its origins? Rutgers University–Newark has joined a network of scholars uncovering the beginnings of modern conceptions of race and racism through the study of pre-modern times. Led by Patricia Akhimie, an associate professor of English at Rutgers–Newark, the initiative is funded by a $3.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a national mentoring network designed to support these scholars.
The work to explore issues of race in pre-modern—or pre-17th century—literature, history, and culture is part of the RaceB4Race project, which brings together classicist, medievalist, and early modernist scholars of race.
Concert video: The Arts as Black Resistance in 18th-Century London
This concert with commentary, performed by the Raritan Players using period instruments, demonstrates how the Black British writer and composer Ignatius Sancho (1729–1780) used the arts as a vehicle of Black resistance. Sancho is known primarily as the author of materials in a “conversable” literary style used to criticize and disrupt the African slave trade. He also was the first Black man to self-publish his original compositions, which included five volumes of music.
Rutgers’ Black Student Union and the Cultural Center Collaborative united last year to celebrate Black History Month and honor Native American heritage. Keynote speakers Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway, Cornel West, and the Rev. J. R. Norwood bring awareness to the history of Black and Native American struggles and the resiliency of their social justice movements.
In October 2021, Leslie Alexander presented How We Got Here: Slavery and the Making of the Modern Police State for the inaugural event of Insurgent Intersections: Combating Global Anti-Blackness. Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, delivered introductory remarks.
Attend an Event
Learn about events available to Rutgers alumni and register for those that speak to your personal and professional interests.
Now through June 15
Zimmerli Art Museum: Angela Davis: Seize the Time
The Angela Davis: Seize the Time exhibition focuses on educator and Black activist Angela Davis, who fought for civil rights in and before the 1970s. The exhibit includes materials from the “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners” campaign, as well as magazines, photography, court sketches, videos, music, writings, and correspondence on issues related to teaching, freedom, oppression, feminisms, and prison abolition.
You can also watch a video of the launch of the book Angela Davis: Seize the Time, edited by Gerry Beegan, a professor at Mason Gross School of the Arts, and Donna Gustafson, interim director of the Zimmerli.
Friday, February 11
The New Jersey Film Festival will hold a 24-hour screening of this documentary on the cultural and social challenges of African Americans in the South from the 1940s through the 1960s. The screening is a partnership with the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center at Rutgers–Newark.
Thursday, February 17–Saturday, February 19
This annual conference explores themes of play and performance in past and present African diasporic art. Hosted by Express Newark, it will conclude with a series of conversations for the 42nd annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture series at the Newark Museum of Art. Advance registration is required.
Monday, February 21–Friday, February 25
Virtual Lecture Series: Access Week: Unlocking Pathways to Success
Access Week highlights the academic, social, and cultural resources essential for the success of first-generation, low-income, and other underserved student groups. This includes people with disabilities, those who identify as Black, Latinx, Indigenous, or first-generation, and those from financially underresourced backgrounds. The lecture series aims to create campus awareness of the need for an equity mindset to help all students thrive.
- Critical Mentoring, Tuesday, February 22 (6–7:30 p.m.) Experts share mentoring practices for working with youth, including how to uplift marginalized and minoritized students and center their voices to make them collaborative partners in their mentoring relationships.
- Building the Anti-Racist University, Wednesday, February 23 (4–5 p.m.) Part of the James Carr Lecture Series, this is an open dialogue between the Rutgers community and public intellectuals invited to campus to discuss pressing issues of diversity, access, and equity as they relate to this year’s topic, Enacting Beloved Community.
- Faculty Research Highlights, Friday, February 25 (11 a.m.–1 p.m.) In this moderated panel event, faculty will share their practices and techniques related to equity in their classrooms, research, and general practice, followed by a Q&A with attendees.
Wednesday, February 23, 5:30 p.m.
Black Excellence Panel
Hosted by the Black Organization of Students, this panel will highlight members of the Black diaspora and explore what it means to exemplify Black excellence through the panelists’ work.
Monday, February 28, 7 p.m.
Rutgers University–Camden celebrates the accomplishments of Black Americans through a monthlong storytelling project, RePRESENTation Matters. Each story will explore the significance of representation in our quest for true racial equality. The lineup includes stories on:
- Jessica B. Harris, acclaimed author of the book and Netflix series High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America
- African American representation in The Phantom of the Opera and recent Disney films
- The new U.S. quarter featuring poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou
- The debut of a Barbie doll inspired by journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells
Friday, March 4, 5:30 p.m.
Redefining Justice and Freedom for Everyone: A Talk by Angela Davis
Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Angela Davis has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to imagine a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st-century abolitionist movement.
Connect with Rutgers alumni, expand your social and professional networks, or offer advice to students by getting involved with an alumni group that is meaningful to you.
Black and Latinx Career Community
The Black and Latinx Career Community is part of Rutgers’ Student-Alumni Career Connect, which brings together members of the Rutgers community in a virtual space for networking, job opportunities, and meaningful discussions. Alumni can share career advice with current students; recruit students for jobs, projects, or internships; seek out fellow alumni for assistance with professional projects; and expand their networks. You will also find industry resources, workshops, events, and advisers to help you meet your personal career goals.
The Rutgers African American Alumni Alliance (RAAA) comprises African American, Afro-Caribbean, and African Rutgers alumni. The organization supports educational programming, spreads cultural awareness, and connects alumni, students, and faculty of African ancestry.
The Rutgers–Newark Black Organization of Students Alumni Association (BOSAA) provides mentorship to students in the Black Organization of Students and engages all Rutgers alumni and the university’s surrounding communities through activities and events.
Jopwell Online Career Resource Platform
Jopwell is a free online platform that supports Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals as they seek internships, full-time jobs, and career advancement. Jopwell users receive:
- Personalized recommendations for open job opportunities in industries such as tech, finance, advisory, entertainment, non-profit, beauty, social impact, etc.
- Exclusive access to job opportunities before applications open
- Referrals from recruiters when they apply to any role on our website
- Exclusive workshops powered by Jopwell employer partners
- Résumé and interview prep resources
Alumni interested in joining Jopwell can create an account here.
Support a Fund
Connect with the causes and communities at Rutgers you care about most by supporting the advancement of research, access, and awareness. You can search for any type of fund you would like to support and make a gift to make an impact. Here are just a few:
- Black Organization of Students Alumni Association Scholarship Fund
- Rutgers Inclusive Excellence Fund helps build capacity to lead strategic and campuswide efforts to advance diversity and inclusion, with an emphasis on diversity education.
- Rites of Passage Graduate Scholarship celebrates the accomplishments of a current Rutgers graduating senior who will enroll in a Rutgers graduate program the following fall. It is funded by the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance.
- Scarlet Promise Grants are need-based financial aid awards that close the gap between aid from federal and state sources and what Rutgers families can afford. These grants provide support for tuition and other expenses, such as books, meal plans, and housing.
This resource guide is part of the Diversity Matters Series, which seeks to openly explore different perspectives by thoughtfully recognizing the beauty of individual differences as honored through a collective experience rooted in acknowledgement, understanding, and celebration.