Rutgers alumnus announces Paul Robeson Plaza
Rutgers will soon honor one of its most distinguished alumni with a memorial in a prominent location across from Old Queens.
The Paul Robeson Plaza will host two 18-foot-long walls made of natural stones and real brick, said James Savage III, president of the Rutgers Class of 1971, 45th Milestone Campaign Committee.
The committee’s job was to determine a notable alumnus to recognize, and the members unanimously selected Robeson, he said Tuesday night at “Dismantling the Color Line in the 21st Century,” one part of a lecture series hosted by the Africana Studies Department.
“It’s going to be somewhere on the square block where the Voorhees Mall is,” he said. “It’s going to be in the open, we wanted it open and accessible.”
Robeson was a student at Rutgers College, hence the plaza’s location, he said. While the former Scarlet Knight currently has a cultural center on Busch campus and a student center at Rutgers—Newark named after him, he no longer has anything donning his name on the College Avenue campus, where he actually attended.
Getting approval for the project would not have happened without the help of Edward Ramsamy, chair of the Africana Studies Department, he said.
The plaza will feature excerpts from Robeson’s valedictorian speech carved into them, along with six etched images of him.
The committee picked etchings as opposed to statues because of his many talents, Savage said.
“What we’re having is images on black granite,” he said. “It’s going to look at Paul Robeson as a valedictorian, as an author … as a global humanitarian. It’s really going to be magnificent.”
Nikhilesh De is a School of Engineering junior. He is the acting news editor of The Daily Targum. Follow him on Twitter @nikhileshde for more.