Work of late Newark historian Clem Price will live on at Rutgers

By Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for
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on January 06, 2017

Renowned Rutgers-Newark professor and city historian Clement Price died at age 69 in 2014.


NEWARK -- It is not only the memory of renowned scholar and beloved city historian Clement Price that will live on at Rutgers-Newark. Now, his work and scholarship will continue, as well.

The Board of Governors at the university, where Price served as a professor and history scholar for 40 years before he died in 2014, voted in December to create the "Clement A. Price Chair in Public History and the Humanities," in his honor.

The position will produce scholarship on the revitalization of Newark and cities like it, and oversee the Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, which Price founded. Since his death, the institute has been renamed in his honor, as well.

"The thing that made Clem most important to us is that he was a bridge," said Rutgers-Newark Professor Belinda Edmonson, who is chairing the search for the Price Chair.

"He brought the Newark community to the Rutgers community and the Rutgers community to the Newark community."

The committee is searching for a person who will "continue the work that he the spirit of public engagement," Edmonson said.

The school is conducting a national search, and accepting applications for the position until the middle of February, she said. It hopes to interview finalists in the early spring, and install the Price Chair at the Newark campus sometime in the next year, she said.

The position is being funded by $3 million in donations, including $2 million from an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation challenge grant the school was awarded in October.

At the time, foundation president Earl Lewis said "Clem spent a lifetime as a scholar and public servant explaining the value of higher education, the humanities, arts and diversity to a range of publics. We can think of no better way to honor his memory and ensure the continuation of the work he started than helping to support the creation (of the chair position)."

Price died in November 2014 after suffering a stroke. He was 69. The scholar was one of the state's preeminent authorities on African American history in New Jersey, and the history of the state's largest city.

He worked with agencies ranging from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Newark Education Trust to the Scholarly Advisory Committee to the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution. In 2011, President Obama appointed him vice chair of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

In 2014, Newark named him the official city historian.

The "Price Chair will attract a high-impact, senior scholar who will play multi-faceted roles as researcher, mentor, catalyst, and collaborator," said Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor.

"I can think of no more fitting and enduring tribute to our beloved Clem."

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