Audrey Johnson ’21 and Milosz Krupinski ‘21
Majors: History (Audrey) and Digital Studies and History (Milosz)
Minors: Film Studies (Audrey) and Communications and Marketing (Milosz)
Affiliation: Honors College (Milosz)
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Charlene Mires, Director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH), and Professor of History
Before the Rutgers University–Camden community inhabited its current location, the area was filled with residents, businesses, and an active and diverse community. This project aims to recover the history of the site of Rutgers–Camden prior to the urban renewal demolition of an earlier neighborhood in the 1960s and to raise awareness of that history. Specifically, this project dives into the lives of the people and places who lived in that neighborhood from 1880 until urban renewal occurred in the 1960s.
This research was accomplished through the use of the Camden City Directories, United States and New Jersey State Census records, archival maps and pictures, and newspaper archives. With this, we were able to create a database of residents who lived in the area our campus calls its home and compile a history of the neighborhood. The primary blocks of focus for this presentation are Penn Street between Third and Fourth, the current location of the Quad opposite the Campus Center, and Penn Street between Fourth and Fifth, the current location of the Paul Robeson Library. The area experienced many changes and is a crucial part of the forgotten history of what came before the Rutgers–Camden campus and its context within the city of Camden. This research also connects to the broader issues on campus today, such as the controversy surrounding the Walt Whitman statue and the Johnson Park mosaic.