Published June 15, 2021
Upholding a profound tradition. Mapping the way to freedom. And a fresh look at a great American novel.
Edward Ramsamy GSNB’02, chair of Africana studies at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, writes an op-ed in the Star-Ledger about why Juneteenth should become a national holiday. Ramsamy explains that nationally commemorating Juneteenth would serve as a powerful reminder of African Americans’ struggle for freedom. “A national Juneteenth commemoration would offer Americans of all backgrounds an opportunity to reflect on the painful legacy of slavery, and remind us that America is a work in progress,” writes Ramsamy. “It would create a platform to work together to overcome the fissures and divisions that still haunt us as a nation.”
A story in the Asbury Park Press about New Jersey’s underground railroad notes that the historic matrix of routes for people escaping slavery was mapped in 2005 by Rutgers University cartographer Michael Siegel RC’79, SCILS’84. In addition to commentary from local historians, the article describes routes on Siegel’s map as winding “up the western side of the state before cutting across to New York City.” Both the map and the quotes in the story show that “New Jersey’s coastal region had been settled by slaveholders” and that “antislavery Quakers…had a stronger foothold in Allentown, Imlaystown, and the western half of the state.”
Ms. publishes a conversation with Salamishah Tillet, the Henry Rutgers professor of African-American studies and creative writing at Rutgers University–Newark, about her book In Search of the Color Purple: The Story of an American Masterpiece. “There are so many ways that the novel not only anticipated where we are now but helped to create where we are now,” says Tillet of Alice Walker’s 1982 achievement. “At the same time, it has produced so much controversy, to the point of boycotts and bans and censorship and real in-fighting. I guess that’s why I wanted to make the case for Walker’s genius.”
A profile in Forbes of two football players with disabilities quotes former Scarlet Knight and coffee entrepreneur Eric LeGrand SAS’14 on his philosophy of life. “You gotta love yourself because people aren’t always going to be there for you,” LeGrand says. “Even if you don’t have a support system you can love yourself for who you are! You can still continue to do good in this world. Maybe you don’t have support but maybe you have one person or two people. Be around those people; support them as they support you.”
A scientific report issued last week warns that preserving biodiversity must accompany any efforts to stop climate change. In a New York Times story, Pam McElwee, an assistant professor at Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and an author of the report, points to efforts to tackle both problems in Senegal through mangrove restoration. “Mangroves are a really special type of ecosystem,” McElwee says, and seem to be less threatened than once thought because restoration efforts are working.
The New York Times | Our response to climate change is missing something big, scientists say
Today.com features insight from Gloria Bachmann NCAS’70, RWJMS’72, director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, on how thyroid problems often occur postpartum in women. Bachmann explains that the cause is a postpartum rebound of immune activities, when a woman’s immune system acts up after she’s no longer pregnant. “Out of 100 women, five will have some type of thyroid dysfunction in the post-pregnancy period,” says Bachmann. “It’s a common phenomenon…If women are not asked by their clinicians about thyroid symptoms, they should bring it up and say, ‘You know I’m not really feeling like myself.’ If something’s not right, voice it.”