Rutgers University Honors African Americans Who Are Part of Its History

Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey has renamed its College Avenue Apartments to honor Sojourner Truth. Born into slavery, Sojourner Truth became a leading abolitionist and advocate for women’s rights. While a slave, Sojourner Truth and her parents were owned by relatives of the first president of Rutgers University.

The Sojourner Truth Apartments house 440 upper-class students. Azra Dees, a sophomore in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers, stated that “it shows a dedication to the history that we have and moving forward. And I’ll always know that I have a meaning behind the building that I’m living in, rather than just being a beautiful new building.”

In addition, the former Kilmer Library on Rutgers-New Brunswick’s Livingston Campus in Piscataway has been renamed the James Dickson Carr Library after Rutgers’ first African-American graduate. Carr completed his degree in 1892 and went on to attend Columbia Law School.

Also a walkway on the main campus was named Will’s Way, in honor of an enslaved man named Will – no last name for him is known – who laid the foundation of Rutgers’administration building in the fall of 1808.

A video on the opening of the Sojourner Truth Apartments can be seen below.

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