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Paul Robeson — artist, human-rights activist and Class of 1919 Rutgers alumnus — was celebrated and honored by close friend and mentee Harry Belafonte and granddaughter Susan Robeson as part of the Annual Paul Robeson Lecture Series on Wednesday night at the College Avenue Student Center.I Am Robeson Week, hosted by the Paul Robeson Cultural Center (PRCC) and the Africana Studies Department and partnered with the “America Converges Here” initiative, is a week-long celebration featuring panel discussions, lectures and films celebrating the accomplishments of the Rutgers scholar and the lives of those he met and inspired, according to the PRCC website.Dr. Edward Ramsamy, a distinguished professor and chair of the Africana Studies Department, said he and fellow faculty members created the lecture series in 2015 as a way to observe and commemorate Paul Robeson's contributions to Rutgers and American history.“Two years ago we were thinking of different ways in which we could commemorate his legacy and out of the discussions came, why not hold a distinguished lecture where we invite individuals who either knew him, who worked with him and or whose work exemplifies the issues that Paul Robeson was interested and fought for,” Ramsamy said.Ramsamy said that despite doubts of successfully bringing both Susan Robeson and Harry Belafonte together for the event — neither of whom had previously been featured on the same panel — the PRCC and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Felicia McGinty were instrumental in turning it into reality.Ramsamy said that because Paul Robeson was a pioneer for so many social activist campaigns, events like this highlight the intersectionality of international struggles.“Paul Robeson was a citizen of the world, what he did was to connect struggles in America with struggles from all over the world ... How does the black struggle connect with other struggles around the world?
New Brunswick and the neighboring Highland Park are the home to a large and vibrant Caribbean community that brings diversity and culture to the area.
With only about 7.5 percent of Rutgers’ student population categorized as black, it may seem as though the black community on campus is rather small. Despite this percentage, black students make a huge impact on the general culture of Rutgers University.