Student Activism History

Beacons of Light

Our project is inspired by the 2016 symposium called Beacons of Light: The Black Student Protest Legacy at Rutgers–Camden. This symposium brought together African American alumni whose courageous protest actions in 1969 changed the course of history at Rutgers. Black student activists pushed the university to tackle exclusionary racist practices, increase recruitment and support for students of color, and establish programs for Africana Studies, urban studies, and community development. Their activism went far beyond the campus, and their stories have much to teach us about the impact of Black Power politics in Camden.

The symposium highlighted the need to preserve the remarkable stories of Camden’s Black Power activists so that new generations of students, educators, and historians can access this rich history.

Our actions in 1969 served as a catalyst to move the university from an exclusive suburban enclave to an inclusive, very diverse urban university model.

Roy Jones at the Beacons of Light symposium

Read about the symposium in the Rutgers Camden Magazine.

Scarlet and Black

To learn more about the Black student protest movement at Rutgers, check out the newly published book Scarlet and Black, Volume 3: Making Black Lives Matter at Rutgers, 1945-2020, where the protest events of 1969 are discussed in the chapter “A Second Founding: The Black and Puerto Rican Student Revolution at Rutgers–Camden and Rutgers–Newark” by Beatrice J. Adams, Jesse Bayker, Roberto C. Orozco, and Brooke A. Thomas.

See alumni Roy Jones, RU-CCAS ’70, and Vickie Donaldson, RU-NCAS ’71, RLAW ’82, talk about their experiences at Rutgers–Camden and Rutgers–Newark in the late 1960s at the Scarlet and Black Virtual Symposium:

Archival Materials

Want to see archival documents, flyers, and student publications from the 1960s and 1970s? Check out the Black Student Activism in Camden collection in the Scarlet and Black Digital Archive.