Celebrating Black History

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BMH_Art 20242024 Black History Month Events in Somerset County

“The Witness Stones Project" Exhibit
Now through March 4
20 Grove Street, Somerville

The Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission and the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum present the exhibit “The Witness Stones Project.” In the atrium lobby of the Somerset County Administration Building, open Monday to Friday 8:30 to 4:30 PM, except holidays.

“The Witness Stones Project” features artwork from the SSAAM working with Timberlane Middle School classes in 2022 and 2023 to memorialize two enslaved people who lived in the area: Friday Truehart and Frost Blackwell.

The Witness Stones Project is an organization with a mission to “restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities.” They are based in Connecticut and have since worked in 4 additional states.

“Tory Jack Day,” Saturday, Feb. 10
Abraham Staats House
17 von Steuben Lane, South Bound Brook

ToryJack“Tory Jack Day,” will feature a special presentation from renowned historian and former National Park Service Interpretive Specialist, Joe Becton. The Revolutionary War era house will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Seating is limited, and reservations are encouraged.

Attend in person or remotely, via Zoom.  Admission is $10 (in person or Zoom) and 18 and under is free. Reserve via Eventbrite or at 732-369-3583.

“Meet Phillis Wheatley,” Friday, Feb. 9 & Saturday, Feb. 10
Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum
189 Hollow Road, Skillman

SSAAM Black History Month“Meet Phillis Wheatley,” will showcase an unforgettable performance by Dr. Daisy Century as Phillis Wheatley, the 18th-century poet who overcame slavery to become the first African American woman to publish poetry.

The event will take place on Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 10 at 11 a.m., with museum open hours from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Register online.

Frederick Douglass Day,” Wednesday, Feb. 14
Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum
189 Hollow Road, Skillman

Celebrate Valentine's Day with a birthday gathering for activist Frederick Douglass at True Farmstead! Participate in the national transcribe-a-thon to bring Douglass's letters to life from the Library of Congress. Laptops are required for this event.

The event will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 14 from 1 to 3 p.m., with museum open hours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Register online.

“Exploring the Underground Railroad with Codes,” Saturday, Feb. 17
Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium
118 Lamington Rd, Branchburg

Explore hands-on activities inspired by codes found in the song “Follow the Drinking Gourd” and in quilt squares to learn more about astronomy and the Underground Railroad, a secretive network of people and places that helped thousands of enslaved people move northward as far as Canada to escape slavery. Participants may explore hands-on activities and view displays about nature, codes, and African Americans who have made a difference.

The activity will take place on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 3 to 5 p.m. and is recommended for ages 6-12. Admission is $10 and all ticket sales are done at the door on the day of the show. Contact planet@raritanval.edu for reservations.

“The Price of Silence,” Tuesday, Feb. 27
Somerset County Human Services and Cultural & Heritage
eCare Center for Nonprofits, 120 Finderne Avenue, Bridgewater

Come see a screening and panel discussion of “The Price of Silence,” a documentary about the forgotten story of New Jersey's enslaved people, organized by. Somerset County’s Office of Human Services, it’s People of Color Network, supported by funding from the Cultural and Heritage Commission. “The Price of Silence,” will feature Part 1: The Price of Silence, T

he Forgotten Story of New Jersey’s Enslaved People and Part 2: The Price of Silence, The Lasting Impact of Slavery in New Jersey. A discussion will follow the screening of each part with ­filmmaker Ridgeley Hutchinson of Truehart Productions and interview subjects Beverly Mills, Elaine Buck, and Kristal Langford.

The screening will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Registration is required. Register online.

"Installation Ceremony of Henry (Harry) Staats,” Thursday, Feb. 29
Abraham Staats House
17 von Steuben Lane, South Bound Brook

The Friends of Abraham Staats House, Inc. was awarded a “New Jersey Historical Commission Inclusive History Grant” for 2023. With those grant funds, they partnered with the Witness Stones Project, Inc. to research enslaved persons associated with the Abraham Staats House historic site and provide the local school with the instructional tools and information to implement the Witness Stones Project curriculum in the classroom.

The outdoor ceremony will take place on Thursday, Feb. 29, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The installation of the commemorative Witness Stone will begin at 3 p.m. Learn more.

Black History Month Events - SCLSNJ:

  • Feb. 1 - Walk with Me*  7pm - 8pm
  • Feb. 7 - African Americans in Space*  7pm - 8:30pm
  • Feb. 10 - Rites of Passage: African Drumming and Poetry (grades K-12)
  • Feb. 10 - In the Key of Stevie
  • Feb. 12 - The Tuskegee Airmen: America's First Black Pilots*  7pm - 8pm
  • Feb. 15 - Art by African Americans*  7pm - 8pm
  • Feb. 21 - Music Appreciation: the Roots of Modern Music
  • Feb. 21 - A Look at Black History Through Jazz*  7pm - 8pm
  • Feb. 24 - Mostly Motown, Vol 2
  • Feb. 26 - Rites of Passage: African Drumming and Poetry (grades K-12)
  • Feb. 27 - Tina Turner: Queen of Rock*  7pm - 8:30pm
  • Feb. 28 - The Lunch Counter Sit-In Movement of 1960*  7pm - 8pm

* indicates a Virtual Program