Featuring the stories and perspectives of the families, activists, and union members who formed the Coalition to Defend Lincoln Annex School. The Coalition came together in 2019 to stop the demolition and redevelopment of the Lincoln Annex School site at 165 Somerset Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
The Coalition to Defend Lincoln Annex did not achieve its immediate aim. Nonetheless, as the oral histories on this site explore, the principles that guided the coalition’s formation during the struggle to save Lincoln Annex now live on in other actions and alliances.
From the standpoint of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT union, the articles proposed in our contract that advance “Bargaining for the Common Good” strategies and our demand that we negotiate “measures that protect the environment, address the financial burdens on students, set reasonable rents for University owned residential properties, and establish polling places on each campus” demonstrate how the fight to defend Lincoln Annex reoriented union leadership to what might be possible if university workers and New Brunswick’s working classes joined forces.
Another key legacy is the union’s strong relationships and solidarities with local activist organizations such as Cosecha and New Labor, and with Rutgers undergraduate students’ eager to change how the university exerts its power in New Brunswick (and in Camden and Newark).
We hope this website serves as an accessible archive that preserves the memory of what drove the coalition and the story of how it came together.
Website users have the opportunity to research, analyze, and share the history of the coalition’s efforts, and to learn from those who were intimately involved in this act of resistance about the form it took, the strategies it adapted, and how it was organized as a social movement.
Website users can also commemorate and celebrate, unabashedly, the spirit that fueled this act of resistance, and immerse themselves in the photos that Leopoldo Peña took in April 2022 to visually document and frame the stories of participants. We hope that by paying tribute in this fashion, we inspire others to act and join as well, and to redefine notions of what might be possible.