In 2019, Rutgers marks the centennial anniversary of Paul Robeson's graduation from Rutgers College in 1919. In recognition, our community honors his achievements as a scholar, athlete, actor, singer, and global activist in a yearlong celebration featuring lectures, performances, art exhibitions, and more. The dedication of the Paul Robeson Plaza on the College Avenue Campus in spring 2019 will pay tribute to his legacy.Learn More About Robeson
The Zimmerli Art Museum will feature six portraits of Paul Robeson highlighting the different facets of his identity. The exhibit was commissioned as part of a joint project between the university’s Robeson Centennial Celebration Committee, Rutgers–New Brunswick, and the museum. The portraits will be on display from February 9 through April 15.
Explore the life of Paul Robeson, one of Rutgers’s most distinguished alumni and true renaissance man, through a unique collection of archival records, documents, photographs, and memorabilia supported by Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries. Trace the contours of Paul Robeson's remarkable life growing up in New Jersey through the lens of his illustrious careers as actor and singer as well as his outspoken global activism as a champion of equality and humanity throughout the world. While the exhibition will cover his entire life and career, it places particular emphasis on Robeson’s early years within the context of the black experience in New Jersey, his time “on the banks,” and his early career in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance. It will be exhibited through September 6, 2019, and is open to all.
The eighth annual Teaching the World Forum and the fifth annual Urban Teaching Matters Conference combine for an exciting event by and for urban- and global-focused educators, designed for the mutual exchange of ideas, support, and inspiration. Be sure to join this gathering of alumni, allies working in the field, and committed educators in harnessing the group's wisdom and expertise in a collective effort to ensure the youth in urban schools reach their full potential.
The conference includes a keynote address by Rosalyn Barnes, principal of Watters School #24 in Jersey City, as well as a multimedia performance by the accomplished actor Randy Noojin. There is a registration fee of $25. Register today.
In honor of Paul Robeson's Centennial graduation, there will be a Graduate Student Colloquium on Paul Robeson: Rutgers Alum, Activist, Scholar, and Global Citizen. A prize of $1,000 will be awarded for the best team presentation; $500 and $250 prizes for the second and third best. All graduate students are invited to put together a team presentation. Learn more and register to participate.
Join us as we unveil the Paul Robeson Plaza, an open space that pays homage to Rutgers University's most acclaimed alumnus who distinguished himself as a scholar, athlete, and artist—but lived most deeply as an activist for civil rights and social justice. Situated in a prominent location adjacent to Voorhees Mall on the College Avenue Campus of Rutgers–New Brunswick, the plaza serves as a beacon of Robeson's life and legacy. The plaza was envisioned and championed by the Class of 1971 for its 45th anniversary, with strong support from the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance (RAAA), Inc. RSVP by Friday, March 29.
Researcher as well as social and human rights advocate, Richard Rothstein will discuss the themes of his book, The Color of Law, which examines the forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide creating racially homogeneous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution.
The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development will host a Diversity and Inclusion Forum as an event dedicated to the center's mission of strengthening the American workforce as well as to increase workers' employability. This forum will focus on the overall status of diversity and inclusion in New Jersey—as well as regionally in terms of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors—and will include best practice strategies and diversity implementation plans. It will also recognize the groundbreaking work of the iconic Paul Robeson as a social change advocate and champion of social justice, especially in terms of Robeson's vision for “One America.” Guest speakers will be drawn from all workforce sectors and will participate in an extensive dialogue as well as a question and answer session.
Help celebrate figures who have made tremendous contributions to the field of oral history. This event will specifically recognize this year's recipient of the Stephen E. Ambrose Oral History Award, Rutgers Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History and Professor of Women's and Gender Studies Deborah Gray White, for pioneering and championing the study of African-American history and women's history in academia. We will also honor Donald A. Ritchie, Historian Emeritus of the U.S. Senate, with the inaugural Rutgers Oral History Archives Legacy Award, which commemorates his contributions to the field of oral history and the intellectual life of oral history practice at Rutgers. This event will be open to the public and will include brunch.
As a first-year student at Rutgers College during fall 1915, when Paul Robeson was the sole African-American student on campus and only the third to be enrolled in the 149-year-old school, he held a white classmate over his head in rage and thought he wanted to kill him. But he didn’t. After Rutgers’ football head coach George Foster “Sandy” Sanford shouted, “Robey, you’re on the varsity!” Robeson placed his new teammate – the one who’d just stomped on his hand in an attempt to break it – on the ground unharmed.Read the Rutgers Today article
It was 1944, when Paul Robeson was performing in William Shakespeare's Othello in New York City.
Despite his busy schedule, Robeson, the renowned writer, athlete, and activist, took time to travel from New York to New Brunswick to participate in a local program, recalled C. Roy Epps, the city resident, and leader of the Civic League of Greater New Brunswick.
City council members voted unanimously for an ordinance to change the name of Commercial Avenue to Paul Robeson Boulevard.Read the TAPinto article
When Paul Robeson rose to speak at his 8th-grade graduation, he was ready.
A year earlier the 13-year-old had moved roughly 20 miles from Westfield to Somerville, New Jersey, with his father, William, the new pastor of the borough’s St. Thomas A.M.E. Zion Church. A former slave with two master’s degrees, William was also a first-class orator who had taught Paul how to speak publicly.Read the Rutgers Today article
In December of 1918, when the Rutgers basketball team played its home opener against Colgate, the strategy was simple: Get the ball inside to one of the best athletes in the east, Paul Robeson.
It was not easy.Read the Asbury Park Press article