In honor of Black History Month, take a glimpse into some of the most interesting moments in South Jersey’s Black History.


The History of The Still Family

One of South Jersey’s earliest families honors its legacy

Every summer for the past 150 years, the streets of downtown Lawnside have filled with descendants of one of the town’s first settlers. Heartbreaking stories about bigotry and cruelty, as well as uplifting tales about the power of love and yearning for freedom, come to life at the Still Family reunion.

On a day devoted to spoken and written accounts that have been passed down through the generations, it’s impossible not to feel your place in history, says Donna Young, a member of the Still Family Historical Committee, which organizes the event recognized as the oldest and longest running African-American family reunion in the nation.

“I grew up knowing that a Guinean prince was my ancestor,” she says. “I knew being a Still was a responsibility. It meant something to us, and it means something to a lot of people.”

These reunions, dating back to the 1870s, have taken on a life of their own. In recent years they have drawn hundreds of people with ties to the family, however tenuous, from near and far.

Read the full story


Healing History

Cape May’s newest museum celebrates Harriet Tubman

The shores of New Jersey’s oldest resort town today are dotted with charming cobblestone streets and Victorian houses, but Cape May’s history is much deeper than that. More than 150 years ago, New Jersey’s most southern point was a beacon of hope for enslaved African Americans gazing over from the banks of Delaware, a slave state.

And what isn’t well known is that for 3 summers, Harriet Tubman – the famed abolitionist, escaped slave, and Civil War spy – spent time on these South Jersey banks, helping others escape to freedom. Tubman’s life is highlighted in Cape May’s newest museum.

Named one of the Smithsonian’s “Top 10 Most Anticipated Museums of 2020,” the Cape May Harriet Tubman Museum was set to open doors on Juneteenth – June 19th – a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Although social distancing measures meant the museum couldn’t open physically to the public as planned, many attended a virtual opening that day. Lynda Towns, president of the Harriet Tubman Museum board of trustees, calls the timing of the opening nothing short of “divine intervention.”

“We’re in a moment in history where we need so much healing and a lot of listening,” says Towns. “It’s critical to me to make sure we tell this story from an African American perspective.”

Read the full story here.


2020 brought a lot of changes, and one of them was a reckoning in diversity and inclusion in practically every space. We had a powerful conversation with Diversity, Equality and Inclusivity Strategist Kimberly S. Reed.

 

“We’re having a lot of conversations about this, and when I say about this, I mean about diversity, about equality, about what is happening in our nation,” she says. “We’re having conversations like never before, and I have mixed feelings about that, I’m going to be honest with you.”

Watch the full video below.

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