Decision Activity: Joshua Huddy, Monmouth County, 1780

Decision Activity: Joshua Huddy
Shrewsberry, New Jersey, September 1780

My name is Joshua Huddy, and I may only have a few minutes left to live. I am an ardent patriot and the Captain of the Monmouth Militia. I just heard glass break downstairs, and from my window, I can see members of the loyalist “Black Brigade” surrounding my house. I see Colonel Tye, standing about six feet tall, commanding his troops. While I fear no man, I begrudgingly respect the military prowess and fighting ability of Colonel Tye. It almost seemed inevitable that we would meet one day in combat. His infamous raids of Patriot homes and my raids of Loyalist homes in Monmouth County set us on a collision course.

We almost came musket to musket at the Battle of Monmouth. But alas, we are not facing off on the battlefield, but rather, at my home. I am outgunned and outmanned, but I am determined not to go down without a fight. Colonel Tye is demanding that I surrender and come out of my house unarmed. Can I resist? In April, Mr. Russell resisted Colonel Tye, and he was killed. I am sure Colonel Tye and the Loyalists want my blood. In 1777, my men and I dragged Loyalist Stephen Edwards from his home in Shrewsberry and hanged him. The Loyalists have wanted revenge ever since. Can I surrender? Will they kill me? Even if they take me prisoner, that may be worse than death. Rumors abound regarding the treatment of Patriot prisoners of war. Most do not survive. It is only me and my mistress, Lucretia Emmons, home tonight. But I have muskets and I have ammunition. We cannot fight Colonel Tye and his men from Refugeetown alone, but perhaps we can hold them off until members of my Monmouth Militia arrive. However, time is of the essence.

As Colonel Tye and his men surround my home, what should I do?

Be sure to provide reasoning for your response.

  1. Surrender to Colonel Tye and face the consequences of my raids? I may face the hangman’s noose. But I am a Captain of the Monmouth Militia. They may be able to negotiate my release.
  2. Fix my bayonet, load my musket, and go down in a blaze of glory. Even if I am taken down, I will try to take out Colonel Tye, and save my fellow Patriots from his raids.
  3. Defend my home by loading several muskets and placing them at every window. Then move from window to window, firing at Colonel Tye and his men, in an attempt to convince them that I have several soldiers here fighting along my side. This can buy me time until the Monmouth Militia arrives.

After making your decision complete the following extension activity:.

The Monmouth Militia has arrived. Write out your orders for your men to fight against Colonel Tye.

Below is a map of Monmouth County in 1781.

Use this map to answer the following:

1. Locate Shrewsberry on the map and describe the geographic features of the area.

2. Colonel Tye and his men were stationed in “Refugeetown” in Sandy Hook over the course of the American Revolution. Locate Sandy Hook on the map and use the “scale of miles” to determine the distance between Sandy Hook and Shrewsberry.

Decision Activity: William Franklin, Middlesex County, 1776

William Franklin: Like Father, Like Son?

Decision Activity: Middlesex County 1776

            Join or Die? Famous words from my old man in 1754. A little dramatic if you ask me. His message to the colonists was simple: unite, fight against the French and their Native American allies or…die. My dad’s words created negative sentiments for the Native Americans, both during the French and Indian War when they were published, and after. As a loyalist and supporter of the Oneida and Lenape natives in my state of New Jersey, I would ultimately strive to send a different message than my father during the Revolution.

            I wasn’t always a Jersey boy. I was born in Pennsylvania in 1730. I never knew my mother, and I wasn’t born into a life of privilege like my contemporary, George Washington. I referred to my dad earlier-have you figured out yet that it’s Benjamin Franklin? My dad was a successful printer, and turned his attention to politics in the 1750s. He was also an engineer, inventor–you can consider him a renaissance man of sorts. I wanted to be just like him. I followed him everywhere, including to Albany in 1754 where my dad laid out his famous Albany Plan of Union. Part of this plan was to create a colonial alliance during the French and Indian War. My dad created a woodcut of a severed snake that represented the demise of the colonies if unity was not established. Get it? Join. Or die. I know, I know. I mocked the join or die thing just a moment ago. But at the time I supported the sentiments.

            After the French and Indian War, I became the royal governor of New Jersey. Being royal governor meant I was expected to uphold the rules of the British crown. After the Stamp Act, tensions in the colonies were heating up and my dad was becoming more and more anti-British. I on the other hand wanted New Jersey to remain true to King George III.

How can we ensure that a new government will be better than this?

What will we lose in the process?

What if this turns to anarchy?

Because of my sentiments in keeping the royal government unchanged in the colonies, militias made up of Patriots were on to me. I was arrested in June of 1776 in Perth Amboy and there was no hope in keeping New Jersey “loyal” or should I say “irreconcilable” after that. I was jailed in Litchfield, Connecticut, 135 miles away! I guess they were expecting me to sit in my cell and ‘think about what I did,’ but instead I was pardoning Loyalists. Jokes on them! I left the prison two years later, and spent the remaining years during the Revolution in New York City. I continued to have correspondence with King George III, and eventually I returned to England in 1782 as part of a prisoner exchange.

Join or Die. Hm. What was there to “join”?

Supporting Questions/Decisions:

Have you ever gone against the beliefs of your parents or guardians?

What impact did this have on your life?

How did it affect your family members?

How did William’s decision affect his relationship with his father, Benjamin Franklin?

 

In your opinion, did William make the right decision in supporting the British crown? Do you think this influenced New Jersey’s history?

 

Is your history book more focused on the Patriot perspective than the Loyalist perspective during the Revolution? If yes, what changes would you make?

 

Decision Activity: Elizabeth Covenhoven, Monmouth County, 1778

Elizabeth Covenhoven

Decision Activity: Monmouth County, 1778

“What’s a Woman To Do … In Times Like These?”

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”  Those infamous words were echoed throughout the colonies since the publication of Thomas Paine’s American Crisis in December of 1776. But what then, can be said, of us ladies? Women: married, single, daughters, mothers, sisters, and grandmothers. A war where loyalties were drawn, neighbor against neighbor, friend against newly formed foe. And here, especially in New Jersey, the war was always in our backyard. With the colonial victories at Trenton and Princeton in the winter of 1776-1777 it would seem as though Washington’s troops were making some progress toward their campaign for victory. But the British were a tough enemy. They were unrelenting and refused to let a rag-tag group of Patriots win. That’s why it was no surprise to me when I heard the rustlings around town that the British were moving throughout the area on their way to New York, perhaps even stopping in the area of the Monmouth Courthouse, my hometown! (Freehold, New Jersey) This was a scary thought, especially to me, since I had heard rumors of British troops burning down homes, taking animals from the barns, and stealing good supplies, foodstuffs, and other valuables from the colonists!

Those of us ladies that remained were often left on our homesteads, alone, to fend for ourselves in the midst of war. I myself have reared 10 children in a one-room home that has stood on this property at 150 West Main Street for the past 25 years. After our children were grown and gone, my husband William and I built a substantial home with the wealth that our families left us, making it one of the most impressive in Monmouth County. We were also able to purchase some very nice furniture, and of course, a beautiful set of china plates, for entertainment purposes of course. I have worked too hard to lose any of these things!

            I guess by now you’re wondering, who am I? Well, my name is Elizabeth Covenhoven.   My husband William is a 5th generation Dutch-American who roots in Monmouth County date back to 1709.  At the time that the war came through my backyard in 1778, I was 74 years old, left alone to fend for myself alongside my four enslaved persons that lived with me on my property. My husband, unfortunately, was not here at the time that General Clinton passed through, and therefore, I alone had to make tough choices in order to survive. My home and its belongings are all I have. 

What should Elizabeth Covenhoven do in order to survive the British occupation of her hometown? Be sure to provide reasoning for your response. 

  1. RUN. This might be a bit challenging due to her age, but certainly, she can hopefully make it to one of her children’s homes and see if they can offer her protection from the British. That is, if they themselves aren’t already in trouble …
  1. OUTWIT. She realizes the limitations of her age. However, with the help of her enslaved persons, she can most certainly hide what possessions she has in the nearby woods and under the earth. The British certainly can’t be that intuitive to know what she has done …
  1. NEGOTIATE. Certainly, the British can’t be *as bad* as how they are perceived? And besides, she is a wealthy Monmouth County socialite, that could be helpful to tired and hungry soldiers and their officers.
  1. FIGHT. She can attempt to defend her land claims and property with the support of her four enslaved persons. Certainly, she can’t take on the British Army by herself, but she could attempt to not let them into her house to seize her property and possessions or set fire to her home.

After discussing and deciding on your decision, select one of the following activities. Be sure to use support from your knowledge of the time period in order to justify your response:

  1. Write a letter to your husband, William, justifying the choice that you made for survival. Remember that you will need to outline what happened to your possessions, as well as the home.
  1. Write a letter to General Clinton. Make sure that you state your case as to why your home should be spared from invasion/destruction of the British.
  1. Write a letter to General Washington. Explain your case to the General of the Continental Army and ask for any type of retribution that has to deal with what has happened to your homestead.

Resources:

https://www.monmouthhistory.org/covenhoven-house

Vietnam Protests at New Jersey Universities

Vietnam Protests at New Jersey Universities

Dan Hamlin

For many, Princeton is a place of prestige and cultural and educational exceptionalism that only the best of the Ivy League can offer. A university such as this is on the cutting edge of tomorrow, where great minds assemble to become future presidents and Nobel laureates. Such has been Princeton’s tradition since colonial times. From founders being founding fathers to multiple presidents, Nobel laureates, and world-renowned physicists, one would be remiss to say that Princeton is not one of the most important and influential schools in the United States, let alone the world. One also cannot overstate the importance of tradition at Princeton University. At a university showcasing James Madison as a notable alumnus on its website,[1]It is clear that Princeton is a place of prestige.

The 1960s and 70s are a particular time in American history where education and student activism became particularly important to the American public. Students were the loudest advocates for change during this time and serve as an excellent example of the value of students taking advocacy in their educational careers. Students in this time would protest in many different ways and about many different things. Issues that concerned students in the 1960s and 70s included civil rights campus issues and the war in Vietnam; these protests would look different at each university depending on the culture and the history of it. So, one would likely expect Princeton: a place of deep and rich American tradition, to be where liberal protest dies, especially in the late 1960s and early 1970s when such protests were well beyond the norm. However, this is not the case. During the Anti-Vietnam War movement, Princeton University experienced an explosion of support from students and faculty sympathetic to the movement. It even boasted its Students for a Democratic Society chapter, which garnered massive student support. However, as the movement got bigger and bigger, tradition started to derail the movement at Princeton University in favor of more modest ways to protest the War in Vietnam. Princeton University is one of New Jersey’s most influential colleges and will provide enormously valuable insight into the Student protest movement in New Jersey, as it is representative of how long-established universities in New Jersey were impacted by the student protest movement. Whereas Rider University provided insight into how smaller less established universities in New Jersey were impacted by the movements, Princeton will illustrate “Established Universities” coped with the movement, illustrating how colleges impacted the broader movement.

Princeton University, where future leaders begin their journeys, was one of the earliest universities in New Jersey to speak outright against the war in Vietnam. Although the war in Vietnam began much earlier, in 1955, opposition to the war was minimal at best, and no sources spoke critically of the war. It was in 1962 that the evidence of discontent began to show. It was in April of 1962 that the School newspaper, The Daily Princetonian published an opinion piece about the war after the release of images of the conflict in Vietnam that Princeton began to show some opposition to the war. The article argues that “unless we base our policy on a response to the fundamental problems of the country and thus end the discontent on which the Communists thrive, we will see many more pictures of bodies in fields, ending only in an ignominious withdrawal from a country in which we will have forfeited the popular support without which victory is impossible. The article questions the need for American involvement at home; Americans face many more present dangers.”[2]Here, one can see the Princeton students first asking questions about the war and the merit upon which America is involved as time goes on.

However, these questions become action. In the ensuing years, discontent at Princeton will begin to fester, on par with that of other Universities from across the nation.[3]However, on October 8th of 1965, Students for a Democratic society officially arrive at the Princeton campus, signaling a massive upgrade in student support for the Anti-war movement.[4]Despite the step forward, not all campus is united in this mission. Very early on, there were instances of resistance to SDS and increased support against the war in Vietnam. In December of 1965, an SDS banner saying “Even Princeton” was stolen, and at an SDS demonstration, “some came to heckle, some came to argue, some came to support,” said the SDS chairman Johnathan M. Wiener. Wiener also later says how “unprecedented” the support has been, especially considering the “traditional Princeton apathy.”[5]Later in early 1966, a conservative teach-in about American military strategy occurred, led by the Conservative club and directed by conservative faculty on campus.[6]These instances are undoubtedly reactionary to the more significant campus-wide attitudes but merit inclusion as they are evidence of Princeton’s traditional values combatting this liberal movement on campus.

In 1966 the movement began hitting its stride as the protest became a standard fixture on campus. As the movement grew, students’ voices grew. In a march 1966 article polling students about the issues they are most concerned about, the Anti-war protest polled near the top however was outshined by campus-related issues, such as food and living conditions.[7] While this says little about the student protest of the war in Vietnam, it reveals two critical things about Princeton at the time. Firstly, Princeton students were incredibly active on campus at this time, inspired by the enthusiasm caused by the Anti-war protest. Secondly, this shows that the most significant external issue to Princeton students was the war in Vietnam, suggesting growth in support for anti-war protests.

As protests grow and time progresses, and anti-movements grow, so too does student involvement in SDS. By May of 1968, SDS had grown to massive heights,  leading The Daily Princetonian to raise the question, “SDS or UGA?” The UGA is the student government association elected by students and meant to represent the students. As the article reads, “There is no other strong political interest group on campus, and the UGA has proven itself to be an impotent governing body capable only of reacting to events and unable to cause creative change where change is needed. The SDS has easily and naturally taken over the vacuum in student leadership. There is now a genuine danger that relevant student issues and the entire student power concept will be identified with the SDS banner and that as these issues come of age, the SDS will increasingly be taken as the voice of the Princeton student body.” This speaks to the incredible power that SDS had by 1968. This article suggests that SDS was the governing body of Princeton University at the time. As the article states there are “nearly 150 members and well over 200 sympathizers.”8 making it the largest student organization on campus. This article illustrates the effect of the anti-war movement on Princeton university, as the SDS, an organization founded to oppose the war in Vietnam, has committed a quasi-coup of the student government, crippling their effectiveness. Princeton is fully invested, and SDS is at the peak of its power on campus. Nevertheless, this success is short-lived.

As students returned in the fall of ‘68, SDS had a significant setback. At a meeting about protesting the new student government in UGA, SDS had an ideological setback, causing a split into two camps. The “revolutionary” who intended on a walk-out at the UGA meetings, vs. the “Liberal politics” camp who decided for a more moderate course of action. The division “threaten[ed] to cripple the effectiveness of that organization and to interrupt the workings of the student-faculty Committee on the Structure of the University”[8]This ideological the split was the beginning of a slow and unceremonious decline in SDS’s popularity on campus. This ideological split was one typical among SDS chapters as the organization progressed into more radical and less palatable avenues.[9]nevertheless, students at Princeton were still appalled by the War in Vietnam and continued protesting the war. However, with the ideological split, this came in different forms.

By April 1969, the radicals are performing more radical actions, fiercely attacking conservative opponents and blocking marine recruiters. These actions cause SDS to be seen as “not working against “the authorities” alone but against other students. This position cuts much of their sympathetic support.”[10]SDS is losing traction at Princeton University, and campus life is becoming more volatile. What that does not mean, however, is that students’ opinions on the war are changing. It is just saying that they disagree with the extreme methods of one organization. In fact, by this point, Princeton and its faculty are united in a front against the anti-war movement as evidenced by the history department’s united efforts to publish an anti-war resolve and include it into their curriculum.[11][12]The splintered movement is a confusing time for Princeton university, as radical acts persist on campus, yet the anti-war movement continues to grow.

Just as Rider had severe reactions to the Kent State killings, Princeton, too, reeled from the national outcry. Over 900 students marched around campus in protest, eventually ending up at the Institute for Defense Analysis. A peaceful protest broke out, protesting the military presence on campus. At the same time, Faculty endorsed a strike of Princeton’s involvement with the Department of Defense after the “senseless killing of four students at Kent State.” Princeton deciding to cut ties with the military is a significant step for the University, as the government undoubtedly relied on Princeton’s prestige to foster new and innovative military thinkers and ideas; an example of Princeton’s prestige and culture influencing their protests, as very few other colleges can take this kind of meaningful action against the government, nor can students from many other universities find a place on campus to focus their anger.

Over the next few years and despite SDS’s ideological split, the movement does not simmer. As more and more opposition against the Nixon administration occurred, the student body became more and more independent against the war in Vietnam, culminating in massive campus-wide strikes and walkouts in 1972. At this time, the Nixon administration was in the exaggeratedly long process of withdrawing troops, and at Princeton, the anger boiled into legitimate action. The April 20th, 1972 edition of The Daily Princetonian almost entirely talks about the organization of strikes and walkouts due to current events. Peace pamphlets are hung around campus, and important board members resign due to mounting pressure. A “Frivolous spring parade around campus turned into an anti-war protest” that raised around “300 students” marching around campus and breaking into smaller protests late at night. The campus was very active at this time. There are also mentions of a picketing schedule for the upcoming week.[13]after these sporadic instances of protest occurred for the remainder of the war until 1975; This is perhaps because the movement as a whole got bigger and became a national issue, one that was now in the halls of congress.[14]

Princeton is a trailblazing school, one where the undergrads move on to do monumental things post-graduation. This was no different in the late 60s and early 70s; however, the student body had more of a fire lit under them to get motivated—the student body at Princeton University was incredibly active during the Anti-war/social movements around the time of the Vietnam war. However, Princeton, having the tradition and strong minds, never reached the full extent of the protest and demonstrations as a more prominent school. So, as a result, Princeton was greatly affected by these movements, but never to the entirely extreme end that a school like Rutgers experienced.


[1] Princeton University Alumni, ed. “Notable Alumni.” Princeton University.

https://princetoniana.princeton.edu/people/alumni/government-and-public-affairs.

[2] Slocombe, W. B. “The Political Side.” The Daily Princetonian (Princeton, NJ),  April 27, 1962. https://papersofprinceton.princeton.edu/princetonperiodicals/cgibin/imageserver.pl?oid=Princetonian19 620427-01&getpdf=true.

[3] Kennedy, Patrick D. “Reactions against the Vietnam War and Military-Related Targets on Campus: The University of Illinois as a Case Study, 1965-1972.” Illinois Historical Journal 84, no. 2 (1991): 101–18. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40192359.

[4] The Daily Princetonian (Princeton, NJ). “Liberal Activist Group to Open Local Chapter.” October 4, 1965. https://papersofprinceton.princeton.edu/princetonperiodicals/cgibin/imageserver.pl?oid=Princetonian19 651004-01&getpdf=true.

[5] The Daily Princetonian (Princeton, NJ). “SDS Banner Tempts Thief, Draws Crowd.” December 3, 1965. https://papersofprinceton.princeton.edu/princetonperiodicals/cgi-bin/imageserver.pl?oid=Princetonian19 651203-01&getpdf=true.

[6] Durkee, Robert. “Conservatives Stress Military Victory: Teach-ins Urges Vietnam Action.” The Daily Princetonian (Princeton, NJ), January 7, 1966. https://papersofprinceton.princeton.edu/princetonperiodicals/cgi-bin/imageserver.pl?oid=Princetonian19 660107-01&getpdf=true.

[7] Miller, Damon. “Student Protests: What Are the Issues?” The Daily Princetonian (Princeton, NJ), March 11, 1966.

[8] Balfor, Richard. “SDS Walk-out Threatens Structure Committee.” The Daily Princetonian (Princeton, NJ), October 2, 1968. https://papersofprinceton.princeton.edu/princetonperiodicals/cgi-binimageserver.pl?oid=Princetonian196 81002-01&getpdf=true.

[9] Isserman, Maurice, and Michael Kazin. America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000.

[10] Buckner, Bruce. “Campus Braces for Upcoming Radical Action.” The Daily Princetonian (Princeton, NJ), April 23, 1969. https://papersofprinceton.princeton.edu/princetonperiodicals/cgi-bin/imageserver.pl?oid=Princetonian19 690423-01&getpdf=true.

[11] Berkowitz, Ed. “Historians Circulate Anti-War Resolve.” The Daily Princetonian (Princeton, NJ), October 2, 1969.

[13] The Daily Princetonian (Princeton, NJ), April 20, 1972. https://papersofprinceton.princeton.edu/princetonperiodicals/cgi-bin/imageserver.pl?oid=Princetonian19 720420-01&getpdf=true.

[14] Isserman, Maurice, and Michael Kazin. America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000.

The Forgotten Lessons: The Teaching of Northern Slavery

The Forgotten Lessons: The Teaching of Northern Slavery

Andrew Greenstein

In the winter of 2021, a dark discovery took Rider University by storm and sparked a revelation amongst many of the students in attendance. After over a century of being hidden in the darkness, the secret that Rider University was once a slave-owning plantation was revealed to the world. A place of advanced education and diversity was once an institution of oppression. The university has since changed the name of the building from the name of the slave owner, Van Cleve, to the Alumni House. It is important that history not be forgotten, but instead brought to the forefront. The university will not erase the history but rather use it as a way to teach about the complicated history of slavery in the state of New Jersey[1]. To many of the students attending the university, this came as a surprise. The students who were history majors were astonished by the fact that slavery occurred in the state of New Jersey, let alone on Rider University’s property. The reason for this lack of information stems from the collective lack of education on the subject.

With a basic understanding of American history, one would be led to believe that slavery was a southern issue and continues to be a contentious history when taught in those states. The reality was that slavery was a nationwide institution. Though schools in the south are vocal about the unwillingness to teach the subject, schools in the north are silent. There is continuous hypocrisy in deflecting all discussions of the matter to the south while ignoring what happened in their own backyards. Walking through any school teaching U.S. history, one may hear a line like “The north were free states and the south were slave states.” Similarly, worded statements can be found within schools in New Jersey all across the state. It implies that Northern states had no slaves at the time of the civil war and were actively fighting the good fight. When the 14th Amendment comes into discussion, one may have the impression that it directly pertained to the freeing of enslaved people in the south, rather than the north as they were already free. This simplification of the issue is far from the truth. To this day, many students will never learn that slavery took place in the north at all, let alone that New Jersey was the last state to abolish the practice. The nation now celebrates Juneteenth to “commemorate an effective end of slavery in the United States”[2]. The stark reality is that slavery persisted after Juneteenth in the state of New Jersey legally for almost a full year, and illegally for another year. That dark history is often forgotten within classrooms throughout the state of New Jersey and the nation.

The lack of national attention to this critical issue does beg the question of how it happened. Many historians argue that the lack of discussion on the institution of northern slavery was due to the racist beliefs of historians in the 19th and 20th centuries.[3] The voices of those early historians often get blamed for creating the view that slavery was only relevant when discussing the civil war as it was undeniably a major cause[4]. As time progressed, one would assume the material on northern slavery would become more prevalent, however, that is not the case. As the discussion both in the classroom and by historians on the institution of slavery has expanded, northern slavery still remains for the most part absent. The question remains: did this critical part of the establishment of the nation go untaught? The only way to answer that question is by examining the teaching of slavery in New Jersey and the Tri-state area. This will open that gateway to a deeper understanding of how this history could be erased from the collective memory.

Before proceeding, it is imperative to understand what the discussion of the education on northern slavery has been. Though the discussion on northern slavery began in the late 1940s alongside the civil rights movement, the conversation about its absence in the classroom does not begin until 1991 due to a shocking discovery in Manhattan, New York[5]. As the federal government was constructing a 275 million dollar project, they stumbled upon “the largest and oldest collection of colonial-era remains of free and enslaved Africans in the United States, according to the National Park Service”. This discovery of the cemetery caused massive protests to fight the city to halt the construction and the removal of the bodies from the site[6]. Following this event, the New York City public schools began to look for a way to incorporate the material into the class and teach this reality that was just revealed to them[7]. This started a growing push from schools across the nation to try to incorporate this reality.

The conversation on northern slavery would continue over a decade later when Professor Alan Singer of Hofstra University would guest teach in New York City public schools. When teaching less than a mile away from the enslaved African cemetery, most of the students were completely oblivious to the reality that not only were slaves in New York but how the reality of slavery was visible in their own community[8]. Though many decisions on how to tackle such an issue were made to teach this material, over a decade later the students still had no idea about northern slavery. The discussions on the material did not translate into the classroom to a sufficient extent. The debate on how to successfully teach northern slavery in the classroom ensued and ultimately lead to the discussion on how to teach this history appropriately.

The content of northern slavery required a restructuring in order to successfully teach the material. Previously, slavery was only taught at the establishment of European colonies in the New World and before the American Civil War. What this divide does is creates the material into another unit, a separate event rather than a continuous struggle. The 2016 book Understanding and Teaching American Slavery by Bethany Jay and Cynthia Lyerly attempt to illustrate the best organization for discussing the topic and the history of the institution of slavery in classrooms. In their analysis of the history of teaching the institution of slavery, they regard the idea of teaching slavery exclusively at those points during early American Colonization and the Civil War to “severely hinder its importance.”[9] What is the best way to teach the institution of slavery is discussing the enslaved perspective threw out the development of the nation.[10] The benefits of this method allow the longevity of the issue and the hardships faced by those affected to be well articulated amongst the students. This is due to its constant presence and the reminder that liberty and freedom were not for all[11]. This revelation in adding the enslaved perspective to early American history would spark further development in tools and resources to bring northern slavery into the classroom.

An initiative would be enacted to bring northern slavery and the massive scope of the institution of slavery to the forefront. This would come in the form of The New York Times 1619 Project. This resource marks an incredible stride in the conversation on teaching northern slavery. The project’s purpose is “to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative”[12]. This comes out of a series of historians and teachers discussing how the realities and the true institution of slavery were untaught to them in the classroom. The project’s aim is to bring these lost lessons of slavery such as its true cruelty and its widespread adoption throughout the nation, not just exclusively in the south. It is built off of the ideals proposed in Understanding and Teaching American Slavery and other books with the same idea tofollow this notion that slavery is an integral part of the nation as a whole, rather than at specific points in U.S. history[13]. The combination of all these ideas paints a picture of the flaws of the teaching of slavery threw out the nation. The current discussion’s main focus is looking at what is absent in the current classroom. The smaller conversation that pertains to the material taught in the past primarily revolves around racism and the Klan[14]. The discovery of a 1904 textbook that details the brutality of northern slavery pushes back on this notion[15]. It begs the question of whether the subject was truly untaught or if another force was responsible for its absence. Looking at the material present in the classroom in the past may prove an insight into northern slavery’s appeared absence.

An analysis of the classroom material available to students is key to understanding the absence of northern slavery. To find these answers, understanding what material was being taught in classrooms from the 1860s and beyond. A method to understand the content of the classroom is by looking at textbooks. Many school notes and lesson plans have been lost to time, but what remains are textbooks. The work of Dr. Pearcy shows the indicator tool that can be used to understand their effect on the content being taught in schools. He states clearly in his article, “Textbooks are, ultimately, tools, for student use. Their utility can only be measured by the degree to which they offer teachers the opportunity to build student-centered inquiry”[16]. From this notion, we can conclude that textbooks are just an object and a tool for students to use. Their content is meaningless unless given a purpose by the teacher. Everything learned in the classroom is under the teachers’ control and they possess the option to use or discard the textbook. However, textbooks do tell us something else depending on where they are. His research looks at ten different U.S. history textbooks of different authors that are widely adopted and compares their tellings of the Battle of Fort Sumter[17]. After analyzing each of the tellings, an interesting trend occurs. This trend is in the bias of the author and how they pick and choose what details to keep and leave out of the telling of the event. This bias could affect the leanings of anyone reading and coerce their perspective of the events that unfolded. These different depictions of the conflict in different areas can have effects on the material discussed in class or reflect it. Companies such as Pearson publish multiple textbooks by different authors to capitalize mainly on the market, however, what market are they capitalizing on?

Looking at the rationale behind the variation of textbooks based on location can assist in understanding why certain content is missing. The findings by Goldstein in his article Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories sheds light on the issue of why these publishing companies hire multiple historians and interpretations of the same material. This article focuses on eight different textbooks found within the states of Texas and California. The issues arise when looking at the same textbook in multiple states. The textbooks are by the exact same author but have different versions for each state. The variations were created by request of school districts or even the book’s own editor. These individuals remove or request additions of material to allow the book to be adopted in a particular area[18]. The best evidence to illustrate this divide between locations is that of the Harlem Renaissance. Examples of this are found in Pearson’s United States History: The Twentieth Century 19th edition. On the subject of the Harlem Renaissance, the Californian edition features a section on the debate within the African American community over its overall impact on them and the nation as a whole. The Texas version only includes the line “some critics ‘dismissed the quality of literature produced’”[19]. What these two distinct changes, along with many more, indicate is the presence of the political atmosphere of the area and the belief of the people the textbook is serving to reinforce. The textbook adopted by a particular state or district reflects the information a school is teaching in the classroom.

With an understanding of the behind-the-scenes crafting of textbooks, there can be the formulation of the content of northern slavery in school. Combining the findings of Dr. Pearcy and Goldstein, textbooks can provide insight into the classroom. The selection of the historian and the version adopted by the school reflect what the administration desired its teachers to instruct in the classroom. Though it may not be a perfect indicator of what was taught in classrooms, as it’s a tool for teachers to use, it gives an idea of what is being taught in the classroom. Examining textbooks from the past used in classrooms within the Tristate area can reveal if northern slavery was taught, and to what extent.

Examining the earliest textbook may yield an understanding of the lack of teaching, not only about northern slavery but slavery as a whole. An example of the content of what was taught in the classroom after the Civil War and in the years following can be found in The New England Primer. This book originated in 1690 and was a fixture in the classroom until the 1930s, a well over 200-year run. The textbook served as the basis of elementary education instruction. By looking at these textbook translations, historians get a sense of what was required of the majority of students at this time, along with what was taught in classrooms. Looking at the 1802 edition, the book opens with an alphabet chart. This gets taught through prayers that become progressively more complex as they go[20]. This information indicates that understanding the alphabet was key. Depending on the quantity available, the school could have focused on reading and potentially writing to utilize this book. Within the context of these prayers, one learns about the calendar and days of the week, counting and basic mathematics, and a small amount of history[21]. This stresses the importance of religion in the classroom at this time. The underlying message throughout the book is that God is more important than any other subject or material in the classroom. The small amount of history included is more biblical in nature but does include the basics of the American government system[22]. The addition of the U.S. system of government is the only change from the 1773 edition, replacing prayers outlining the functions and structure of the parliament system[23]. What this shows is that history was really not a focus in this era of education. Only those who would exceed the basic knowledge of the time would learn about more advanced information. With the perpetuation of this book into the 20th century, this basic education would be what was taught to many poor American individuals and black Americans. More fortunate areas would receive new textbooks and educational material, phasing this material out or relying on it less exclusively. Those less fortunate areas would be using this information exclusively until the 1930s. The New England Primer is referred to as the “Bible of one-room schoolhouse education”[24]. The lack of history not only assists in the loss of the knowledge of northern slavery but of the entire institution of slavery as a whole. These individuals would want the history they learned as children in school. A slow creep of this altered history would make its way to the north.

Movements were made to suppress and remove the teaching of not only northern slavery but all of black history. The most prominent of these would be “The Lost Cause”, the movement to honor the legacy of the confederacy. This movement would begin in the 1870s as reconstruction would begin to fail. The lost cause mentality would paint the black community as unable to attain the same equality as white individuals due to the efforts attempting to create equality failed[25]. This gave rise to the notion that the confederates were noble in their sacrifice to fight for slavery. It rewrites the telling of the history that “there was nothing ‘lost’ about the southern cause”[26]. This was due to the mindset that black Americans were only good at being servants to white men. Monuments and memorials to honor the confederacy would be constructed such as the statues of Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee. By the 1890s this movement would sink its teeth into the education system of the north. The goal was to rewrite history books to reflect the southern perspective and preserve its honor. This movement is regarded as a reunion of America’s racist mentality as it proposed the Civil War was caused by other factors, not slavery. It also created this idea of the “happy slave”, the idea that there were enslaved individuals that loved slavery and serving the white man[27]. Women’s organizations and the state department of education were the ones in charge of advocating for approving educational material for schools. Many became strong supporters of the lost cause and by the 1920’s it would be integrated into schools across the north and especially in New Jersey[28].

Before the alteration of the history would appear, strides were made to bring the history of northern slavery to the forefront. In the 1870s history books began to include slavery within their content. The oldest examined history textbook to bear mention of slavery is the Condensed History of The United States from 1871. This book was used in a classroom in Norristown, Pennsylvania, as demonstrated by the address of the school on the front cover pages with the initial date of October 31, 1888. On the page adjacent, student names are written, with the last one being 1899, giving the text an eleven-year confirmed usage in the classroom. The cover pages are full of notes made by students long past, however, one stands out amongst the rest. This particular note is a prayer, one found word for word from the 1812 edition of the New England Primer. This detail establishes that in this classroom, the two books were in fact utilized together. This class was learning American history alongside the basics in the New England Primer. The town had the economic resources present to invest in its youth’s education. The students within this town received a higher quality of education than those of poorer communities. However, what did these students learn about not only northern slavery but the institution of slavery as a whole?

 This history tells a very interesting version of America’s past, but what is interesting is what is left out. There is no mention of slavery until what they call the “War of Secession” is discussed[29]. The book starts with the discovery of the new world and the establishment of each American state at the time of its publication, but not one mention of slavery till that point. The book does establish that there was northern slavery by directly stating “At the time of adoption of the Constitution, slavery existed in the Northern as well as the Southern States”[30]. It provides an impressive analysis for its time detailing the various legal cases pertaining to slavery such as Dred Scott v. Sanford. There is a fascinating inaccuracy with the passing of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments; as the book details that Johnson was president for their passing. It details that the passing of these amendments was the cause of the issues between the President and the other two branches, rather than Reconstruction. In fact, the only mention of Reconstruction at all is Johnson vetoing the Reconstruction Act of 1865 rather than discussing any of the programs created by it[31]. This alteration to history has two possible reasons for the inaccuracy. The first is more innocent, being in the title of the book “condensed”. Reconstruction not only is a long process and would officially end in 1877. The book was written in 1874 meaning that reconstruction was still ongoing at the time. Writing on its effects could be taken as more speculatory and not factual information as the book attempts to stick exclusively to. The second is the seed of the lost cause making its way into the material. The ideology of the lost cause deemed Reconstruction a failure and did not warrant time discussion. Its omission is telling that this influence was seeping into the education of these students. However, what is most interesting is what it says about how slavery ended in the north. After detailing the increase of southern populations due to the cotton gin, it stated, “In the North, on the other hand, where slave labor was not profitable, slavery soon died out”[32]. It leads to the idea that in the 1850s slavery was extinct in the north, however, the reality was quite different. Slavery was very much alive in the north during the 1850s. 

Looking at the history of just New Jersey alone, there is a far different reality of northern slavery from this telling in the textbook. Starting as far back as the 1790s, New Jersey was split over the issue of slavery. Quakers were strongly against it; they interpreted enslaved people as people due to the wording of the constitution. The three-fifths compromise of 1787 also reinforced their claim that enslaved individuals were people. The opposition viewed freedom as an economic catastrophe. The labor force for the majority of the state’s highest-grossing markets were nearly entirely enslaved or indentured servant individuals. They saw that liberation would make the industries of agriculture, ironworking, and factory manufacturing unprofitable. The debate over a compromise began in 1797 but would reach its conclusion in 1804 with the gradual abolition act, also referred to as the “free womb” act[33]. This legislation gave freedom to all enslaved individuals born after July 4th, 1804 on their 21st birthday[34]. This allowed slave owners to have the labor force they needed to make up for the economic loss of abolition and granted enslaved people their freedom at a set point. The average life expectancy of an enslaved individual in New Jersey at this time was forty-one years. This meant that they would likely have had only half their life to live if they even made it to freedom. The act was filled with loopholes that allowed the continuation of slavery in the state well after the projected period of total abolition. The idea was to have all enslaved individuals freed by the 1830s. The issue was with the clause that allowed children born while in the period of the enslavement term were to be placed in the care of the local principality[35]. Principalities were the townships and counties that reside within the State of New Jersey. Many of the individuals in charge of managing the treatment of these children would give them right back into the hands of their masters, making them slaves till their 21st birthday. This is how the enslaved population grew far larger than it was in 1804 by the 1860s[36].

The inaccuracies of the teaching of northern slavery would have disastrous consequences to its very existence by later generations. The pervasive belief that slavery was all but extinct in the north by the 1860s is evidence of the start of the “the amnesia of slavery”[37]. This is a term coined by historian James Gigantino II in his book The Curious Memory of Slavery in New Jersey, 1865-1941. What he seeks to illustrate is how Northern states such as New Jersey with such a large and prosperous enslaved population forgot that slavery even occurred in their own backyards. The reason for this was that slavery was looked at as an “insignificant sideshow” in the state. Many northern slaveowners owned only one or two slaves, thus making the reminders of an enslaved past virtually nonexistent to those that were not directly affected by it[38]. What the Condensed U.S. History textbook shows us is this amnesia occurring. In a time when enslaved individuals and their children were very much still alive, their suffering is being forgotten. There is no active backlash as those with the ability to change the material have little to no interest. This early removal of teaching about what occurred beneath these students’ feet will send shockwaves to later generations and reach into the modern classroom.

There would be a push to expand the teaching of northern slavery upon the turn of the century before the influence of the Klan would take hold. This is evident in the textbook Stories of New Jersey by Frank R. Stockton. This book was published in 1896 and the copy analyzed was printed in 1904. The inside cover indicates the book originated from a Princeton classroom before finding its way into the Library of Congress. It is worth noting that this book is back in reproduction and the Amazon description of the book reads that it was “so popular over the years in NJ schools that it has in itself become a part of New Jersey’s history”[39]. This book possesses a unique feature that is exclusive to this book and none other, even textbooks today. This feature is an entire chapter dedicated to the history of enslaved individuals in the state from 1626-1867[40]. What this chapter says about slavery in the state is incredibly unique, especially for its time of publication. The section begins with Dutch settlers bringing enslaved individuals over with them in 1626 to develop the inhospitable land and form their colony. Enslaved individuals were expendable and would do the labor that would normally require a far more physical toll on the body. They became the largest group of workers in the booming iron industry, logging, and of course, the plantations popping up across the land. In 1664, the Dutch surrendered their colonies to the English empire. In this exchange, many changes would appear in the lives of those original settlers, but slavery was not changed[41]. Slavery remained in this state for over 200 years after this point. This early slavery history even includes an entire section on how Perth Amboy, New Jersey, was the slave trade capital in the north and distributed enslaved individuals throughout the northern colonies[42]. This was all true. While other texts around this period ignore this history, this book sought to put a spotlight on it. Following details of the atrocious conditions the enslaved people in the state faced and the lack of large plantations like the south, it noted that large numbers of individuals owned one or two enslaved individuals[43]. This kept slavery as a pivotal force in the community and essential to its economy. If this text was utilized in the classroom to the fullest, many students would have learned a genuine and dark history of the establishment of the state’s institutions. However, this very insightful history becomes inaccurate regarding the abolition of slavery.

The first half of the telling of northern slavery from Stories of New Jersey is remarkable with its depiction of northern slavery for its time, but that narrative falls apart when reaching the abolition of slavery in the state. While it does portray an accurate picture, much of it is far from the truth. The first comes in the debates over the gradual abolition act of 1804. The book describes it as Quakers becoming abolitionists; the three-fifths compromise made their view under the law that these were people, not property, and entitled to the same rights. The opposition saw slavery as an economic necessity as the work they were doing was dangerous. These were undesirable jobs no one wanted to do in their society. This debate over the issue does remain close to the reality that transpired. The text makes a crucial error in stating the gradual abolition bill that allowed the abolition of slavery on one’s twenty-first birthday passed in 1820 rather than 1804[44]. This alteration of the date creates a precedent that the abolition of slavery was far faster and more efficient. It creates the idea that New Jersey’s policy was successful and had no issues with its implementation. Further errors found in the section support this idea that the solution the state implemented was successful. When discussing the results of the act it directly states, “in 1840 there were still six-hundred and seventy-four slaves in the state, and by 1860 only eighteen slaves remained, and these must have been very old”[45]. These numbers couldn’t be further from the truth as slavery was still going strong by the 1850s.

 What is missing from the Stories of New Jersey textbook are those who were wrongfully enslaved. The text leaves out the dark reality that a percentage of slavery occurring in the state was children who were supposed to be free. The 1804 Gradual abolition act forced some of the children born to enslaved mothers into a life of enslavement until their twenty-first birthday. The census of children being born from 1804-1835 to exclusively enslaved mothers shows five hundred and forty-one documented children. It is estimated that in the year 1850, while documentation may say two hundred and thirty-six, far more were illegally in service. The text also does not acknowledge the abolition of slavery in its entirety in 1866. The wording makes it appear it ended gradually by 1860 citing the success of the gradual abolition act[46]. This misinformation will impact generations to come as it was the definitive history of the state. It took until 2008 for the New Jersey government to finally formally apologize for its slave-owning past and its failure to step in and end its illegal perpetuation[47]. Though it may not be the most perfect telling of the history, it’s evidence that people were trying to teach the injustice that happened within their state. Slavery was not relegated to a small part of the civil war, rather it merited its own chapter dedicated to the hardships and debate over its abolishment. While this book is making its way into classrooms, so is the Klan. The Klan would attempt to rapidly spread in the education field and in the coming decades as part of its resurgence. This growth would ultimately transform the history of northern slavery.

The Klans’ takeover of northern education and purging of the history of not just northern slavery, but the entire institution is seen within the textbooks of the 1920s. The 1924 textbook An Elementary History of New Jersey by Earle Thomson is dramatically different from the textbook from 1904. What distinguishes this book aside is absolutely no mention of slavery of any kind. This textbook was definitely used within the state, as in the preface the author thanked superintendents and principals who commissioned a book to express their shared view of the truly important history and to add tools that would enhance student understanding[48]. The schools this particular book was used in included Union, Hackensack, Newark, and Westfield[49]. There may have been more schools adopting this book, however, those are unmentioned by the author, and no indication is left on any of the Library of Congress documentation. The book directly states that “children should be taught in some detail the history of their own state and of its part in the development and progress of the country” while omitting a major part of their history[50]. The larger shocking piece is that only the conflict of the Civil War is discussed. There is no lead-up; it just dropped the reader right into the conflict[51]. It appears that only the victory of the war was significant, but not what they were fighting for or even the amendments that followed. This text is pivotal to understanding the shift in the classroom. The lost cause ideology had reached the apex of its hold on the classroom. The removal of all mention of slavery or black Americans was done to illustrate how unimportant the black community was and how futile any action to promote equality was. However, its removal may have been far more purposeful than just a desire to push this lost cause ideology.

The Klan had far larger ambitions than just the omission of slavery from educational material during the 1920s. The book The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition by Linda Gordon sheds light on this exact time period. The Klan was a notorious hate group created in the aftermath of the Civil War but it saw a resurgence in the 1920s. This revived Klan was stronger in the North than in the southern states of the nation and focused on the education system of the time[52]. Their priority was the recruitment of white American youth to continue their organization into the coming generations. This involved integration of the Klan into the material taught in schools. The Klan and those associated with them edited the material to reflect the beliefs of the organization. This makes recruitment easier as the Klan reflects the morals and values secretly supplanted into the minds of susceptible students[53]. This was most evident in the teaching of history in the classroom. Klansmen in positions of authority in schools such as superintendents used their influence to alter texts found in the classroom. This involved the recreation of textbooks to fit their nefarious agenda[54]. The lack of a mention of slavery or even the leadup or aftermath of the civil war in the 1924 textbook is evidence of known involvement. It’s unclear if any of the principals or superintendents credited in the textbook are Klansmen, but the influence is quite evident. The textbook states, “This book is in no sense a complete history of New Jersey, the author hopes that its study may prove an inspiration to the purple to become an upright citizen of his community or state”[55]. The absence of this major time period in the state’s history is done in a way to not invoke question. Unless there is other supplemental material taught in the classroom, the dark history of the state and the nation are removed from the collective memory. This book directly shows how “the amnesia of slavery”[56] occurred not only in the state of New Jersey but across northern states. With the widespread recruitment push for new Klansmen, anyone learning in schools around this time would have no recollection of northern slavery’s existence. All the work in the decades past to bring this history into the classroom has been completely undone. Any book touching on the subject would have to start from scratch if the goals of those behind the book were successful.

Following the end of the Second World War, the U.S. would revisit the teaching of northern slavery. The post-war U.S. began to enter a period of civil rights and reforms as the Truman administration began to assist in the abolishment of segregation. This gets reflected in the 1947 U.S. history textbook American History by Howard Wilson and Wallice Lamb. This textbook is fascinating due to its creation. The book states that the author’s intentions for writing the textbook were to “include history and perspectives from this great nation that have been forgotten or removed over the years”[57]. This indicates that the creation of the book was to teach a history that includes information removed by the Klan and other parties. The authors attempted to devise a history from the ground up that includes lost information including slavery. It kept its promise by including a simplified version of the slave trade and the quantity of forced labor employed. The text also looked into how the institution of slavery was a fundamental part of colonization in the Americas[58]. It may not be the most perfect of tellings as it leaves the atrocities that faced the enslaved individuals out. This is significant as it leaves out the horrors that faced enslaved individuals. It creates the notion that this was a great injustice on the part of the colonists but was not as horrific as the reality of the situation. It keeps the reader, most likely a white student, separated from the event allowing no remorse for the actions of their forefathers to the black community. This was the last instance of slavery mentioned till the causes of the Civil War. There are two chapters dedicated to the development of agriculture and industry in the northern states and the southern states, but there is no mention of slavery whatsoever[59]. What this does is reinforces the idea that slavery was there, but it wasn’t important in the continued development of the nation. The practice of slavery was only significant in establishing a foothold on the land. It makes the institution and the horrors faced by the enslaved people insignificant to economic development. However, coverage of the Civil War period possessed an interesting take on the content.

The 1947 textbooks’ stance on the Civil War and its aftermath indicate a deviation from the stranglehold of the Klan in education. The period leading up to the war has an interesting take on slavery. The text neither condemns nor supports either side of the debate on slavery. It creates this awkwardly neutral state when describing the situation that caused the suffering of so many[60]. This is important as the goal appears to not anger those with sentiment in support of slavery. The author appears to be holding back their opinion on the matter and not getting into depth on the horrific reality. The text does have an allusion to the idea that the northern states either abandoned or abolished the practice. It describes this trope of the north being “abolitionist”, that there was no one within the state that opposed slavery. Following the end of the war, it does something unique to this text. The textbook described the reconstruction period in a way to appear successful rather than what happened in reality. The book described Reconstruction as establishing property in the south with 40 acres and a mule proposition. It describes how many would remain in the south as they were given property. What is also interesting is that it discusses the surge of newly freed black individuals getting into office as they finally received the right to vote. The book describes the downfall of the reconstruction as due to irresponsible spending of tax dollars and the creation of the Klan forcing black Americans to stay out of government and politics[61]. The text portrays the Klan as the villain in reconstruction. It signifies a shift in public opinion and the elimination of their grasp on the education system. Information that pushes back on the lost cause narrative by showing that Reconstruction was sabotaged is making its way into schools. The neutral dialog however does indicate their presence is still there. The Klans’ limited presence is also indicated by the book leaving out many important details such as lynchings, or even the Great Migration of Black Americans to the north for work. These events had the potential to paint the Klan that existed at this time rather than the early organization during the reconstruction era in a negative light. The Klan may not have been as strong as they were in the previous decades, but was still a prominent organization throughout the nation, especially in the north. The textbooks telling of slavery does reinforce the notion that slavery was exclusively a southern problem, but this is not the first time this will occur.

Northern slavery’s absence in the classroom may not have been excluded due to racist involvement in the material. The relegation to slavery being exclusively southern is an issue that perpetuates to this modern day. This trend is one that Mr.Vikos, a former high school history teacher is very familiar with the pattern of returning to relegating slavery to exclusively the south. Mr. Vikos taught in Brooklyn from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. His insight into the teaching of northern slavery illustrates how racism is not the only factor in the removal of this information. In the late 60s, his school was facing a large influx of black students due to the end of segregation in 1963. The school would become nearly 100% black by 1975 and the teachers wanted to teach material that reflected the classroom’s demographics. This involved teaching northern slavery when the pre-Civil War era would arise in the classroom. “Students did enjoy the content at first, but as the years went on there were an increasing number of issues. The first was general confusion as students would get confused on what side slavery was on during the actual conflict. The second and most important issue was the lack of care. The students had no interest in learning about slavery that occurred here (New York)”[62]. Eventually the teaching of northern slavery would be reduced as issues with the content would arise. “Readings on northern slavery were present in the classroom, but the likelihood anyone of the students remembered them a decade later is highly unlikely”[63]. The teaching of northern slavery was present, but students would be the driving factor in its reduction. Eventually, the material would return to the idea that the north were free states and the south was slave states. There is a cycle of the subject of northern slavery appearing and then disappearing. The topic becomes introduced, it reaches a height where the issue is really focused on, and then an outside force acts, reducing the discussion back to the beginning. This trend can be seen between the textbooks from 1874 to 1924 with the Klan removing the material and again from 1947 to the 1970s when student interest would reduce its discussion. This trend would continue into the modern day. This becomes evident with the current lack of understanding of northern slavery even though the material is now present in almost every classroom in northern schools. The decades from the 1980s to the mid-2010s only serve to continue this trend.

To prove this theory of the teaching of northern slavery being a cycle, the decade of the 1980s serves as a point to see the material reintroduced. The 1980 textbook American History Review Text by Irving Gordon illustrates an interesting trend in the telling of history. This book was used in Port Richmond High School in Staten Island, New York throughout the 1980s and into the early 90s. The textbook immediately began with the colonization of America and the triangle trade after establishing a background on the New World. It also does a fantastic job of illustrating the population differences between the enslaved population and the white Europeans[64]. This detail is that “slavery was found as a common practice throughout all English thirteen colonies”[65].Through discussing early American slavery, the inclusion that it existed within the entirety of the nation does allow the student reading to understand that the institution of slavery was in fact present in the north. Continuing the traditional organization structure, the textbook only mentions slavery only at the colonization of America and prior to the Civil War. This structure continues to assist in undermining the severity and longevity of the institution of slavery. When it begins to discuss the pre-Civil war era, it does call out hypocrisy. Though it may be two paragraphs, it sheds light on the hypocrisy of northern slavery[66]. This hypocrisy was the north participating in slavery while simultaneously vilifying the south for participating in the exact same practice. This is significant as this is the first textbook examined to touch upon this issue. Not only does it bring to light northern slavery, but the textbook condemns the north for criticizing southern slavery before it abolished the practice fully within its states. Upon reaching the point of reconstruction, the textbook’s messages begin to shift.

Though time long since passed the time of Klan involvement, the telling of the history still bears its scars. The language of the text leads to assumptions with the vocabulary used to describe the black community at different points. In the beginning, they were described as “Africans” who then transitioned into being referred to as “enslaved” individuals. In the years during reconstruction, they are referred to as “Black”. However, once reconstruction ends they become “negros”[67]. What this shows is the perpetuation of the lost cause mentality through the vocabulary. The idea of referring to black individuals as “negros” in this text is to establish the notion that the black community during the point of reconstruction and after are two different kinds of people. There also are present many allusions to what is going on in the north but the reality is vastly different. An example of this is the education system constructed in the south during Reconstruction. It stated “Negros, as well as whites, were guaranteed free compulsory public education by the reconstruction constitutions of the southern states. However, after the southern whites regained control, Negros received schooling that was segregated and inferior”[68]. This line does highlight the notion that there was segregation and inferior education in the south but makes it appear that it was not a problem in the north. Segregated schools were prominent in the north as well and in some cases persisted far longer than they were legally able to. What this wording does that becomes commonplace is make the south sound like a racist and discriminatory place and paint the northern states in a light that is far from the reality that existed. The textbook does a decent job of illustrating the regression of the discussion of northern slavery. It may establish the institution existed in the north, but it lacks descriptions of the conditions. The text also regresses to race-charged wording linking its connection to the history of previous Klan-influenced textbooks. This would change as the nation entered the 1990s.

The discussion on northern slavery would continue due to its prioritization. The 90s would be a point where the material on northern slavery would begin to grow once again. Starting in 1996, Mr.Vikos would be responsible for approving textbooks for schools in the central headquarters. When asked about the criteria for what textbooks got approved, he would respond with the topic of slavery. He recalled how “many textbooks would just have a paragraph or two on the subject of slavers as a whole. It is impossible to cover all of the slavery in a single book, how do you do it in one paragraph? A textbook would only get passed if it discussed the social, political, and economic factors of both the north and the south”[69]. He would stress the economic section as this would be the deciding factor of slavery’s perpetuation for both the north and the south. What was illustrated was a reinvigoration of the content. This was an individual who was passionate about bringing this information to the classroom and was in a place to do so. With the discovery of the massive burial of enslaved individuals in Manhattan a few years prior, there was a draw into teaching northern slavery.

As time progresses into the modern day, the pattern of the rise and fall of northern slavery’s discussion in the classroom only becomes more rapid of a cycle. Three different versions of the American Pageant textbook by Thomas Bailey, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen illustrate the perpetuation of the rise and fall of northern slavery in the classroom. The editions in question are the 2006, 2013, and 2016 versions. What makes these books unique is that they are currently in use in schools in New Jersey. The ones examined were in the possession of students actively using them in the classroom. What makes this even more interesting is the parts that were changed. The beginning chapters detail the triangle trade and the enslavement of the native American populations and the African populations. It even includes how slavery reach the American colonies in 1619 from captured slaves en route to Spanish colonies diverted to Virginia[70]. The wording is almost exactly word for word between editions, so uniform it’s almost conspicuous. The differences become starkly relevant when the discussion of American slavery comes to question.

The three discussed American Pageant textbooks present differences that illustrate the increase and decline of the topic of northern slavery. Each book possessed a section dedicated to slavery between the founding of the nation and the civil war, slavery prior to the civil war, and a chapter on reconstruction. The differences become apparent in the first few paragraphs of the section. The 2006 edition was altered to include a deeper perspective of northern slavery following the revelation that attempts to include the material were unsuccessful. This is evident as the edition remarked that in the north there was freedom being attained, but there was more hatred of black Americans than in the south[71]. This gets reinforced by the story of an individual who was born enslaved in the south, sold in New York City, and was eventually freed after eight years of servitude and the conditions she lived in after gaining freedom. The textbook accurately portrayed the conditions of slavery, and by covering the north before the south in the description of slavery, it gives the impression that slavery was equally horrible in practice throughout the nation[72]. The 2013 edition states that northern slavery was just small farms with no large-scale plantations. It goes into detail about how New York abolished all of its slavery and possessed far better-living conditions than the south[73]. This entirely changes the established narrative that slavery was a horrible practice. The text almost glorifies the practice of slavery in the state of New York. The 2016 edition resolves these issues by taking the best aspects of the two together. It largely emphasizes the story of the enslaved woman by giving it its own dedicated page[74]. It includes an interesting insight into the northern slavery perspective. It does an excellent job of discussing how “few northerners were prepared for the outright abolition of slavery”. It goes in-depth at looking at the economic issues facing the north if it were to abolish slavery and the general view of the population wanting reform rather than abolition[75]. The description of the popular view of the time feeds into a clearer understanding of the northern hypocrisy. This being the desire to abolish slaves in the south rather than within their own borders. The combining of the best of the two prior editions is the greatest strength of the sixteenth edition. Due to its publication date, the revised text containing a large amount of northern slavery material could be due to the political climate in 2016. The contentious political election sought to reinvigorate the discussion of slavery, especially that of northern states. This may be only speculation due to the recentness of this change, but outside forces like that are indicators of material like this being reintroduced based on the previously analyzed patterns in the earlier textbooks discussed. The three different textbooks indicate a falling point in the 2006 edition due to the reinvigoration in the 90s, a low point in 2015 as northern slavery was no longer in style, and then a spike in 2016 due to a shifting political climate.

What the analysis of these texts indicate is a disturbing trend of periodically increasing and decreasing the teaching of northern slavery in the northern states. There are large and periodic appearances of this under-discussed material and it appears to almost be predictable.

We begin to see it untaught in the classroom in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War[76]. This was due to the material being largely sourced from the New England Primer, a book that focused on basic language, mathematics, and civic education[77]. The exclusivity of this textbook would fuel the “lost cause” ideology. This ideology was the belief that the south was justified in fighting for slavery as reconstruction failed, proving black individuals could never be equal to their white counterparts[78].The discussion of northern slavery begins to increase in the mid-1870s based on the material from Condensed U.S. History from 1874. Though the description of events leads much of the history of northern slavery out, it does make its appearance known[79]. Entering the 20th century we see a boom in the discussion of the material. In the textbook of the history of New Jersey, Stories of New Jersey, there is a detailed history of slavery in the state. It goes as far back as the Dutch and only gets slightly inaccurate in the end with the eventual abolition of the institution[80]. This revolutionary discussion of the material comes crashing down in the 1920s. This is illustrated by the 1924 textbook An Elementary History of New Jersey[81]. Its lack of not only the discussion of slavery in the north, but the absence of the entire practice is the ultimate goal of the “lost cause”. It indicates the idea of the Klan using education as a way to indoctrinate young and new members, and this came at the price of editing textbooks to reflect their views on society[82]. Textbooks and educational material would bear the scars from this alteration for dedicated to come.

The coming age of civil rights reform would attempt to distance itself from the past. The restructuring of this discussion of northern slavery is illustrated in the 1947 textbook American History[83]. Its limited appearance shows that the topic once again rose into the discussion. From the perspective of a history teacher from the late 60s to the mid-1970s, coverage began to increase once again to a clear point in the late 60s as schools finally began to become more diverse due to an end of segregation. Northern slavery’s discussion then began to fall in the 70s as the civil rights movement would lose its ground in the years following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination[84]. The discussion on northern slavery would reach a low in the 1980s and gets illustrated by the 1980 history textbook American History Review Text. It may call out the North but it shows clear evidence of promoting the “lost cause” mentality due to its racially charged language[85]. The 90’s would see a rise in the discussion of northern slavery again as the discovery of the largest enslaved cemetery in the nation would be found under Manhattan. The depth of the discussion on northern slavery reached a height in 2006 with the American Pageant 13th edition. It includes a detailed section on slavery in New York and that the horrors of slavery were present in the north. It even details how northerners viewed the practice as unjust but did little to nothing to end it within their states while criticizing the south[86]. From this height there is a dramatic fall in the 2013 edition of the same textbook. It led to the idea that slavery was small in the north and that it was far better in conditions than in the south. It also creates the illusion that it was abolished by the 1860s rather than continuing throughout the civil war[87]. Lastly, we see a jump in the discussion emerging in 2016. The American Pageant textbook’s 16th edition rectifies this issue of a decrease in the discussion. It adds material from the 2006 edition and expands on the practice and conditions of northern slavery[88]. It’s unclear what the cause of this shift could be, but one could only speculate it was done out of a response to the changing climates and the increased national discussion on the longevity of the impacts the institution of slavery had on the nation.

With these trends highlighted, it’s important to note that there has never been a steady teaching of the material. Teachers have struggled with finding ways to get the material across without creating unnecessary confusion. The importance of this subject is unparalleled as its atrocities have never truly been righted[89]. The perpetuation of these trends creates a lost history of the horrifying events that unfolded beneath the feet of students. They can adequately describe the atrocities that happened in distant states but are oblivious to the same atrocities that happened only a few miles away. The lack of a focus or understanding of what happened in the backyards of both teachers and students alike truly creates and perpetuates the “the amnesia of slavery”[90].

There is hope however that this continuous issue does get brought to light in the classroom. The awareness on the part of the students and teachers alike can see an end to its repetition. Teachers bringing this issue to the forefront and explaining to students that slavery happened here, and that it goes undiscussed, may inspire students to speak up when this topic is left out. Activism on this issue is key to maintaining its presence in the classroom and that these forgotten lessons never become forgotten again.

References:

Bailey, Thomas, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 13th ed. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning, 2006.

Bailey, Thomas, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 15th ed. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning, 2013.

Bailey, Thomas, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 16th ed. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning, 2016.

Blight, David W. Race, and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2001.

Ellis, Nicole. “How the Discovery of an African Burial Ground in New York City Changed the Field of Genetics.” The Washington Post. WP Company, December 20, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/12/20/how-discovery-an-african-burial-ground-new-york-city-changed-field-genetics/.

Gigantino II, James J. “The Curious Memory of Slavery in New Jersey, 1865-1941.” New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 6 (1): 35–55. 2020, Academic Search Premier doi:10.14713/njs.v6i1.188. Accessed 9/28/22.

Gigantino II, James J. The Ragged Road to Abolition: Slavery and Freedom in New Jersey, 1775-1865. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.

Gigantino II, James J.“‘’The Whole North Is Not Abolitionist’’.” Journal of the Early Republic 34 (3): 411–37. 2014, Academic Search Premier doi:10.1353/jer.2014.0040. Accessed 9/28/22

Goldstein, Dana. “Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories.” The New York Times. The New York Times, January 12, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/01/12/us/texas-vs-california-history-textbooks.html.

Gordon, Irving L. Review Text in American History. New York, NY: AMSCO School Publications, 1980.

Gordon, Linda. The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, 2018.

Jay, Bethany, and Cynthia Lynn Lyerly. Understanding and Teaching American Slavery. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2016.

Lapsansky-Werner, Emma J., Peter B. Levy, Randy Roberts, Alan Taylor, and Kathy Swan. United States History: The Twentieth Century. 19th ed. California. New York, NY: Pearson Education, Inc., 2019.

Lapsansky-Werner, Emma J., Peter B. Levy, Randy Roberts, Alan Taylor, and Kathy Swan. United States History: The Twentieth Century. 19th ed. Texas. New York, NY: Pearson Education, Inc., 2019.

Mydland, Leidulf. “The Leg of One-Room Schoolhouses: A Comparative Study of the AME…” European journal of American studies. European Association for American Studies, February 24, 2011. https://journals.openedition.org/ejas/9205.

New Jersey. Laws, Statutes, Etc. An act for the gradual abolition of slavery … Passed at Trenton . Burlington, S. C. Ustick, printer 1804. Burlington, 1804. Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/rbpe.0990100b/.

Nix, Elizabeth, What Is Juneteenth?, History.com, A&E Television Networks, June 19th, 2015, Accessed October 31st, 2022, https://www.history.com/news/what-is-juneteenth

Pearcy, Mark, “We Are Not Enemies”: An Analysis of Textbook Depictions of Fort Sumter at the beginning of the Civil War, The History Teacher, Volume 52 Number 4, Society for History Education, August 2019

Pender, Tori, Slaveowner’s name removed from campus’ alumni house, The Rider News, Rider University, November 17th, 2021, Accessed October 31st, 2022, https://www.theridernews.com/slaveowners-name-removed-from-campus-alumni-house/

Samuel Wood & Sons, Publisher. Beauties of the New-England primer. [New York: Published by Samuel Wood & Sons, 261 Pearl-Street, 1818] Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/10011910/.

Stewart, Nikita. “Why Can’t We Teach Slavery Right in American Schools?” The New York Times. The New York Times, August 19, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/19/magazine/slavery-american-schools.html.

Stockton, Frank R. “Stories of New Jersey.” Amazon. OUTLOOK VERLAG, 2020. https://www.amazon.com/Stories-New-Jersey-Frank-Stockton/dp/0813503698.

Stockton, Frank R. Stories of New Jersey. American book company, 1896. Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/01007755/.

Swinton, William. Swinton’s Condensed United States: A Condensed School History of the United States: Constructed for Definite Results in Recitation and Containing a New Method of Topical Reviews. New York, Chicago: Ivinson, Blakeman & Co., 1871.

The Associated Press.“Teachers Shed Light on Slavery in the North.” NBCNews.com. NBCUniversal News Group, March 18, 2006. https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna11883116.

The New York Times. “The 1619 Project.” The New York Times. The New York Times, August 14, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/1619-america-slavery.html.

Thomson, Jay Earle. An elementary history of New Jersey. [New York, Philadelphia, etc. Hinds, Hayden & Eldredge, inc, 1924] Image. https://www.loc.gov/item/24011186/.

Vikos, George and Greenstein, Andrew. Conversation at Marina Cafe, Staten Island NY, November 14th, 2022

Westminster Assembly. The New England primer improved: for the easy attaining the true reading of English, to which is added, the Assembly of Divines, and Mr. Cotton’s catechism. Boston: Printed for and sold by A. Ellison, in Seven-Star Lane, 1773. Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/22023945/.

Wilson, Howard E, and Wallice E Lamb. American History. Schoharie, NY: American Book Company, 1947.

Wolinetz, Gary K., When Slavery Wasn’t a Dirty Word in NJ, New Jersey Lawyer, February 15th, 1999


[1] Pender, Tori, Slaveowner’s name removed from campus’ alumni house, The Rider News, Rider University, November 17th, 2021, Accessed October 31st, 2022, https://www.theridernews.com/slaveowners-name-removed-from-campus-alumni-house/

[2] Nix, Elizabeth, What Is Juneteenth?, History.com, A&E Television Networks, June 19th, 2015, Accessed October 31st, 2022, https://www.history.com/news/what-is-juneteenth

[3]Wolinetz, Gary K., When Slavery Wasn’t a Dirty Word in NJ, New Jersey Lawyer, February 15th, 1999

[4] Wolinetz, When Slavery Wasn’t a Dirty Word in NJ

[5]  Wolinetz, When Slavery Wasn’t a Dirty Word in NJ

[6] Ellis, Nicole. “How the Discovery of an African Burial Ground in New York City Changed the Field of Genetics.” The Washington Post. WP Company, December 20, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/12/20/how-discovery-an-african-burial-ground-new-york-city-changed-field-genetics/.

[7]Stewart, Nikita. “Why Can’t We Teach Slavery Right in American Schools?” The New York Times. The New York Times, August 19, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/19/magazine/slavery-american-schools.html.

[8] The Associated Press.“Teachers Shed Light on Slavery in the North.” NBCNews.com. NBCUniversal News Group, March 18, 2006. https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna11883116.

[9] Jay, Bethany, and Cynthia Lynn Lyerly. Understanding and Teaching American Slavery. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2016. p.32

[10] Jay, Lyerly. Understanding and Teaching American Slavery p.11

[11] Jay, Lyerly. Understanding and Teaching American Slavery p.14-17

[12] The New York Times. “The 1619 Project.” The New York Times. The New York Times, August 14, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/1619-america-slavery.html. P.1

[13] Jay, Bethany, and Cynthia Lynn Lyerly. Understanding and Teaching American Slavery. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2016.

[14] Blight, David W. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2001.

[15] Stockton, Frank R. Stories of New Jersey. American book company, 1896. Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/01007755/.

[16]Pearcy, Mark, “We Are Not Enemies”: An Analysis of Textbook Depictions of Fort Sumter at the beginning of the Civil War, The History Teacher, Volume 52 Number 4, Society for History Education, August 2019, p.611

[17] Pearcy, “We Are Not Enemies”: An Analysis of Textbook Depictions of Fort Sumter at the beginning of the Civil War, p.596

[18] Goldstein, Dana. “Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories.” The New York Times. The New York Times, January 12, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/01/12/us/texas-vs-california-history-textbooks.html.

[19]  Goldstein, “Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories.”

[20]Samuel Wood & Sons, Publisher. Beauties of the New-England primer. [New York: Published by Samuel Wood & Sons, 261 Pearl-Street, 1818] Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/10011910/.p.1-32

[21]  Samuel Wood & Sons, Beauties of the New-England primer p.4-21

[22] Samuel Wood & Sons, Beauties of the New-England primer p.22-30

[23]Westminster Assembly. The New-England primer improved: for the more easy attaining the true reading of English, to which is added, the Assembly of Divines, and Mr. Cotton’s catechism. Boston: Printed for and sold by A. Ellison, in Seven-Star Lane, 1773. Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/22023945/ ,p.29-31

[24]Mydland, Leidulf. “The Legacy of One-Room Schoolhouses: A Comparative Study of the AME…” European journal of American studies. European Association for American Studies, February 24, 2011. https://journals.openedition.org/ejas/9205.

[25]Blight, David W. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2001.p.255

[26]Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory p.257

[27]Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory p.287

[28] Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory p.283

[29]Swinton, William. Swinton’s Condensed United States: A Condensed School History of the United States: Constructed for Definite Results in Recitation and Containing a New Method of Topical Reviews. New York, Chicago: Ivinson, Blakeman & Co., 1871, p. 235

[30] Swinton, Swinton’s Condensed United States: A Condensed School History of the United States p. 236

[31] Swinton, Swinton’s Condensed United States: A Condensed School History of the United States p. 288-291

[32] Swinton, Swinton’s Condensed United States: A Condensed School History of the United States p. 237

[33] Wolinetz, When Slavery Wasn’t a Dirty Word in NJ

[34] New Jersey. Laws, Statutes, Etc. An act for the gradual abolition of slavery … Passed at Trenton . Burlington, S. C. Ustick, printer 1804. Burlington, 1804. Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/rbpe.0990100b/.

[35] New Jersey, An act for the gradual abolition of slavery.

[36] Gigantino II, James J. “The Curious Memory of Slavery in New Jersey, 1865-1941.” New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 6 (1): 35–55. 2020, Academic Search Premier doi:10.14713/njs.v6i1.188. Accessed 9/28/22.

[37] Gigantino II, James J. “The Curious Memory of Slavery in New Jersey, 1865-1941.” p.36

[38] Gigantino II, James J. “The Curious Memory of Slavery in New Jersey, 1865-1941.” p.37

[39] Stockton, Frank R. “Stories of New Jersey.” Amazon. OUTLOOK VERLAG, 2020. https://www.amazon.com/Stories-New-Jersey-Frank-Stockton/dp/0813503698.

[40] Stockton, Frank R. Stories of New Jersey. American book company, 1896. Pdf. https://www.loc.gov/item/01007755/.p. 6

[41] Stockton, Stories of New Jersey, p.84-85

[42] Stockton, Frank R. “Stories of New Jersey.” p. 86

[43] Stockton, Frank R. “Stories of New Jersey.” p. 86-89

[44] Stockton, Frank R. “Stories of New Jersey.” p. 92

[45] Stockton, Frank R. “Stories of New Jersey.” p. 92

[46] Stockton, Frank R. “Stories of New Jersey.” p. 92

[47] Gigantino II, James J.“‘’The Whole North Is Not Abolitionist’’.” Journal of the Early Republic 34 (3): 411–37. 2014, Academic Search Premier doi:10.1353/jer.2014.0040. Accessed 9/28/22, P.38

[48]Thomson, Jay Earle. An elementary history of New Jersey. [New York, Philadelphia etc. Hinds, Hayden & Eldredge, inc, 1924] Image. https://www.loc.gov/item/24011186/. P.iv

[49] Thomson, An elementary history of New Jersey P.v

[50] Thomson, An elementary history of New Jersey P.ix

[51] Thomson, An elementary history of New Jersey P.150

[52]Gordon, Linda. The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, 2018. p.2

[53] Gordon, Linda. The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition p.65

[54] Gordon, Linda. The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition p.67

[55] Thomson, An elementary history of New Jersey P.iv

[56] Gigantino II, James J. “The Curious Memory of Slavery in New Jersey, 1865-1941.” p.36

[57] Wilson, American History p.iv

[58]Wilson, Howard E, and Wallice E Lamb. American History. Schoharie, NY: American Book Company, 1947. p.27-29

[59] Wilson, American History p. 209-236

[60] Wilson, American History p.249-257

[61] Wilson, American History p. 280-286

[62] Vikos, George and Greenstein, Andrew. Conversation at Marina cafe, Staten Island NY, November 14th, 2022

[63] Vikos, Conversation at Marina cafe, Staten Island NY, November 14th, 2022

[64]Gordon, Irving L. Review Text in American History. New York, NY: AMSCO School Publications, 1980 p.21-25

[65] Gordon, Review Text in American History p.22

[66]  Gordon, Review Text in American History p.157

[67] Gordon, Review Text in American History p.184

[68] Gordon, Review Text in American History p.186

[69] Vikos, Conversation at Marina cafe, Staten Island NY, November 14th, 2022

[70] Bailey, Thomas, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 13th ed., 15th ed, 16th ed, Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning, 2006, 2013, 2016.

[71]Bailey, Thomas, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 13th ed. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning, 2006. p.356

[72] Bailey, Thomas, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 13th ed. p.357-358

[73]Bailey, Thomas, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 15th ed. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning, 2013 p.341-344

[74] Bailey, Thomas, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 16th ed. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning, 2016. p.352

[75]  Bailey, Thomas, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 16th ed. p.355-359

[76] Gigantino II,“‘’The Whole North Is Not Abolitionist’’, P.46

[77]  Samuel Wood & Sons, Beauties of the New-England primer

[78]Blight,Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory .P.255

[79] Swinton, Swinton’s Condensed United States: A Condensed School History of the United States p. 236-291

[80] Stockton, Stories of New Jersey, p.84-85

[81] Thomson, An elementary history of New Jersey P.4-157

[82] Gordon, The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition p.2-47

[83] Wilson, American History p.27-29, 209-257

[84] Vikos, George. Conversation at Marina cafe, Staten Island NY, November 14th, 2022

[85] Gordon, Review Text in American History p.21-25, 157-186

[86] Bailey, Thomas, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 13th ed. p.356-462

[87] Bailey, Thomas, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 15th ed. p.341-442

[88] Bailey, Thomas, David Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 16th ed. p.343-435

[89] Jay, Lyerly. Understanding and Teaching American Slavery p.9

[90] Gigantino II, James J. “The Curious Memory of Slavery in New Jersey, 1865-1941.” p.36

New Jersey History: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Discusses the “American Dream,” Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, February 5, 1965

New Jersey History: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Discusses the “American Dream,” Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, February 5, 1965

Source:https://depts.drew.edu/lib/archives/online_exhibits/king/speech/theamericandream.pdf

An audio of the entire speech is available online at: https://depts.drew.edu/lib/archives/online_exhibits/King/index.html

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “American Dream” speech to an audience of 5,000 at Drew University. He is with Drew professor Dr. George D. Kelsey and his wife.

A. I would like to use as a subject from which to speak tonight, the American Dream. And I use this subject because America is essentially a dream, a dream yet unfulfilled. The substance of the dream is expressed in some very familiar words found in the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This is a dream. Now one of the first things we notice about this dream is an amazing universalism. It does not say some men, it says all men. It does not say all white men, but it says all men which includes black men. It doesn’t say all Protestants, but it says all men which includes Catholics. It doesn’t say all Gentiles, it says all men which includes Jews. And that is something else at the center of the American Dream which is one of the distinguishing points, one of the things that distinguishes it from other forms of government, particularly totalitarian systems. It says that each individual has certain basic rights that are neither derived from nor conferred by the state. They are gifts from the hands of the Almighty God. Very seldom if ever in the history of the world has a socio-political document expressed in such profound eloquent and unequivocal language the dignity and the worth of human personality.

B. But ever since the Founding Fathers of our nation dreamed this dream, America has been something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against herself. On the one hand we have proudly professed the great principles of democracy. On the other hand we have sadly practiced the very antithesis of those principles. Indeed, slavery and racial segregation are strange paradoxes in the nation founded on the principle that all men are created equal. But now, more than ever before, our nation is challenged to realize this dream. For the shape of the world today does not afford us the luxury of an anemic democracy, and the price that America must pay for the continued oppression of the Negro and other minority groups is the price of its own destruction. The hour is late and the clock of destiny is ticking out, and we must act now before it is too late.

C. I would like to suggest some of the things that must be done in our nation if this American Dream is to be realized, some of the challenges that we face at this hour; and in facing the challenges we will be able to bring this dream into full realization. I would like to start on the world scale, so to speak, by saying if the American Dream is to be a reality we must develop a world perspective. It goes without saying that the world in which we live is geographically one, and now more than ever before we are challenged to make it one in terms of brotherhood . . . Mrs. King and I had the privilege to journey to that great country known as India. I never will forget the experience of meeting and talking with the great leaders of India, meeting and talking with thousands and thousands of people in the cities and villages all over that vast country. These experiences will remain meaningful and dear to me as long as the chords of memory shall let them. But I must say to you that there were those depressing moments. How can one avoid being depressed when he sees with his own eyes evidences of people by the millions going to bed hungry at night? How can one avoid being depressed when he sees with his own eyes thousands of people sleeping on the sidewalks at night, no houses to go in, no beds to sleep in? How can one avoid being depressed when he discovers that out of India’s population of more than 400 million people, some 375 million make an annual income of less than $80 a year? And most of these people have never seen a doctor or a dentist. As I noticed these conditions, something within me cried out, “Can we in America stand idly by and not be concerned?” And an answer came, “Oh, no, because the destiny of the United States is tied up with the destiny of India and every other nation. And I started thinking about the fact that we spend millions of dollars a day in America to store surplus food. I said to myself, “I know where we can store that food free of charge, in the wrinkled stomachs of the millions of God’s children in Asia and Africa and in South America.

D. I think this is the first challenge and it is necessary to meet it in order to move on toward the realization of the American Dream, the dream of men of all races, creeds, national backgrounds, living together as brothers. If the American Dream is to be a reality, secondly we must get rid of the notion once and for all that there are superior and inferior races. This idea still lingers around in some situations and in some circles . . . There may be superior and inferior individuals academically within all races. But there are no superior and inferior races. But in spite of this, the notion still lingers around . . . We have enough evidence in practical experiences and practical accomplishments of individuals in the Negro community and individuals in other minority groups to demonstrate that there is no truth in the idea of the inferiority of the Negro race, of the superiority of any other race.

Questions

  1. According to Dr. King, what is the American Dream?
  2. In your opinion, are any groups missing from the list described in section A. If so, who is missing?
  3. In section B, why does Dr. King call the United States “schizophrenic”?
  4. In section C, why did Dr. King have an extended discussion of conditions in India?

Dr. King delivered this speech in 1965. In your opinion, are the problems he described still present in American society? Explain.

Decision Activity: Guillam Demarest, Bergen County, NJ, 1781

Decision Activity: Guillam (Gilliam) Demarest

Bergen County, NJ 1781

August, 1781 (Two months before the Battle of Yorktown)

Father came to visit today. I think this was his fourth visit to the Sugar House Prison in New York City on Crown (now Liberty Street) in four days, but my memory might be failing me — hunger tends to expand time. It feels like decades since my stomach was full. These measly rations (when we get them) would be barely enough to satisfy a small baby, let alone a nineteen-year old man. Of course, my father, David, reminds me that my hunger is my choice. I need but only swear fealty (loyalty) to the Crown, abandon my principles of liberty, and turn against the twenty-three other Patriot members of my family to no longer be hungry.

Father accused me of betraying our country, but how can I betray a country I never felt I belonged to? Our ancestors are French, not British, and we don’t even speak English at home – we speak Jersey Dutch. He is the traitor, not I.  Even my mother, Jane, doesn’t support his decision to join the British.

Father told me to join him and his refugee group. He demanded I join him. But if I join him now, what about Philip and John, my cousins? We were captured together by my father and his men, who were raiding homes in the area for food and supplies, at New Bridge in August but separated upon arrival at the prison (Lurie: Taking Sides, Page 101).

I wonder what will happen to Mother when this is all over. If the British win, will she be persecuted because she and her sons supported the American cause? Will they point to the fact that I willingly enlisted five different times (in 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, and 1781) for the American militia?  If we win, will she be persecuted because her husband fought on the side of the British? I do not know if I will make it out of this Sugar House prison to see her again. I think I might have a fever. Two men next to me had a fever five days ago. Now, they are dead.

Oh, how I wish I could ask them what they would do….

What should Guillam do in this situation?

  1. Accept his father’s offer to take An Oath of Allegiance to the Crown?
  2. Refuse his father and remain in the Sugar House prison until the Patriots arrange for his release through a prisoner exchange?
  3. Attempt to escape from the Sugar House prison before he dies?
  4. Do something else? Explain.

Guillam ultimately chose to refuse his father’s offer and remained in the Sugar House prison for nine months. Following his release, he rejoined the American militia, where he ended up receiving a serious hand injury. In 1782, Guillam married Bridget Brower with whom he had six children. His father, David, who according to a family acquaintance, “deserted his country’s cause,” moved to Nova Scotia after the war. His mother Jane, ended up having her property confiscated because of her husband’s decision to join the British army. She remained in New Jersey with Guillam.

Decision Activity: George Morgan White Eyes, Princeton, NJ, 1778-1790

Decision Activity: George Morgan White Eyes

Princeton, Mercer County

1778-1790

Koquethagechton, also known as White Eyes, was a Lenape chief living in Ohio Country. He married Rachel Doddridge, a white woman who had been taken captive by the Lenape at age 5 and had become fully assimilated to Lenape life. As an adult, Doddridge chose to remain an adopted Lenape.

When the American Revolution began, Koquethagechton initially tried to remain neutral, but before long it became evident that he would have to take sides. In 1777, Koquethagechton addressed the Continental Congress, and the following year negotiated a peace treaty with American representatives.

Which of the following provisions should Koquethagechton have sought in a peace treaty?

Select one option and explain your answer in 3 to 5 sentences.

  • A new state shall be created for the Lenape, incorporating the nation into the United States with representation in Congress.
  • The United States must build a fort in Lenape territory to help protect the Lenape from attacks by other Native American nations or from the British.
  • The United States shall provide the Lenape with clothing, utensils, and weapons as needed.

Amazingly, the Treaty of Fort Pitt, signed September 17, 1778, included all of these provisions. The promise of a 14th state along with Congressional representation is something that was never promised to any other Native American group, but relied upon the further approval of Congress. Unfortunately, the treaty never received the support of Congress and was ultimately rendered meaningless.

Later that year, while accompanying American soldiers in Ohio Country, Koquethagechton died at the age of 48. Initially the cause of death was reported as smallpox, but eventually it was revealed he had been murdered by the American militia. Nearly ten years later (circa 1788), Rachel Doddridge was murdered in the course of a robbery by white men disguised as Native Americans. Both of their stories are compelling and worthy of more examination, but our focus here turns to their son, George Morgan White Eyes, partly named for Koquethagechton’s American friend, who would become the boy’s guardian.

White Eyes was seven years old when his father died. The Continental Congress assumed financial responsibility for the upbringing of the chief’s son. White Eyes was likely the first recipient of government-based student financial aid from the U.S. government. After completing grammar school, he was enrolled at the College of New Jersey in Princeton in 1785.

In December 1787, he and three other students were summoned before a disciplinary committee for insolence towards a tutor. Apparently, it wasn’t the only time he’d gotten in trouble at school. His guardian decided to remove him from Princeton and sent him to New York City to temporarily be under the care of a merchant tailor while awaiting instructions from Congress on what to do with young White Eyes. His guardian explained in a letter to Congress that White Eyes’ misbehavior may have had to do with his learning the news of his mother’s recent death and the long-concealed truth about his father’s murder. Morgan suggested that instead of sending him back to Princeton – or back to his nation – that White Eyes be sent to a different institution of higher learning, like Yale.

Which of the following choices do you think 18-year-old George Morgan White Eyes would make?

Select one option and explain your answer in 3 to 5 sentences.

  • Go back to Ohio Country to live among his own people.
  • Let his future be decided by George Morgan and the decision of Congress.
  • Strike out on his own in the New York to find a job and be independent.
  • Appeal directly to someone in power, explaining his desire to either be given a job or further education.

On June 2, 1789, George Morgan White Eyes wrote to President George Washington:

“[N]ot the severest Want shall make me return to my native Country—Tis thought from the Behaviour of my Colleagues while at Princeton that I will follow their Example—but never—I shall say but little but I trust my heart is fixed, & the time may come that this now feeble Arm, may be stretched out in the Service of America; & render the United or Individual States essential Service.

My humble request is & has this some Months past, that if the Burthen (sic) is too great on the United States that some kind of Employment may be pointed in order that I thereby may obtain a Living a[long] the Line that Congress probably first intended—That is agreeably to the Education they have been pleased to bestow upon me—I care not what [it] is I am willing to do what I am able, & you should think necessary to my future Welfare—[E]ntreating your Excellency’s kind Patronage on this Occasion I have the Honor to remain With the most perfect Respect, Sir, Your most Obedient & most devoted Servant”

Congress did not act quickly, and as the weeks went by, ‘the severest want” apparently changed White Eyes’ mind. He wrote President Washington again:

“The treatment I met with at Princeton & the Character I bear (which I know I am innocent of) here, are great Grievances to me, especially as I have undergone a great many Difficulties, I shall stear (sic) my Course towards my native [country] let the Consequence be what it will.

For it is better for me to live in Contentment & Quietude, than a life Contempt & Ignominy.1 I have not had any thing this while past & I am almost naked, thro’ some guile or other, for what I know. I believe they are tired of doing any thing for me & I am tired waiting for their duty which is incumbent on them by a resolve of Congress.

I am now to look out for myself since I cannot behave myself, better than I have done; for all that I do is in vain, yet all these things are not discourages of my staying here any longer, but I am [anxious] to return & see my Mother & Friends, as it ought to become every person who has a regard for their Nation. I beg you would assist me in my return as I have no other person to apply to; but if not I must do as well as I can.” Source

In March of 1790, George Morgan White Eyes returned to his nation in Ohio Country.

Sadly, his story has an ignominious ending. Eight years later (1798) in West Point, Ohio, an intoxicated White Eyes ran at 17-year-old William Carpenter Jr. with a tomahawk. Fearing for his life, Carpenter shot White Eyes, killing him instantly. Initially the boy and his father were charged with murder and aiding and abetting, but the case never came to trial.

To GEORGE MORGAN Mount Vernon, August 25, 1788.

Sir: The letter which you did me the favor of writing to me the 31st. of last month, with a Postscript to it on the 5th. of this, came duly to hand; as did a small parcel of wheat, forwarded some time before, by the Post Master General from New York. For your polite attention to me in these instances I pray you to accept my best acknowledgments and Thanks. With much concern I have heard of the ravages of the Hessian fly on the wheaten Crops in the States East of the Delaware and of the progress of this distructive (sic) insect Southerly; but I congratulate with you sincerely on your successful endeavors in the management of your measures &c. to counteract them. If the yellow bearded wheat from a continuation of experiments is found no matter from what cause, to be obnoxious to and able to withstand this all devouring insect [it] must indeed be valuable; but I have paid too little attention to the growth of this particular kind hitherto, to inform you in what degree of cultivation it is in this State, I may venture, at a hazard, however, to add that it is rare: because it is unusual to see fields of bearded wheat of any kind growing with us, particularly in the Western parts of the State, which falls more immediately under my observation. I will distribute the Seed which you have sent me; make enquiry into this matter and communicate the result, begging in the meantime, if any further observations on this insect, and the means of guarding against him should be made by you that you will have the goodness to communicate them to. 67 Source

Finding Our Place in Revolutionary History

Finding Our Place in Revolutionary History
Karen Parker

All human beings want to feel like they belong to something bigger. This is
especially true when students reach adolescence, their whole psyche revolves around being liked, accepted, and belonging to a group. The importance of that “place” that they hold is the driving force held together by peers, social media, cliques, fashion, and home. Relating part of their place to history and pique that sense of belonging to that history, not feeling left out of it as a spectator, not feeling odd or different from the people and feeling like they are connected with the locations, can be the key to the level of engagement. Luckily, in New Jersey, it is not difficult to find Revolutionary era connections in our backyards and neighborhoods.

There is a disconnect with children during their education of history. Students often feel disconnected because of the difficulties in relating to elapsed time, distant places, and unfamiliar habits and customs. As educators, it is our challenge to create as many opportunities for connections as possible, to have the students relate to some “thin and brittle” threads of familiarities, and often we can wrestle grudging interest in the topics presented.

History, unlike active experimentation in science and the excitement of fiction in
language arts, is unsurprisingly often deposited toward the end of the favorite subject list, to muddle around in student’s heads where they view the facts as dull lists of events and dates of forced importance with scattered entertaining facts – more so if they relate to a holiday that includes time off from school.

To connect with people from generations past, it is important to find that common ground with today. Where I grew up in Morris County, I lived a short drive from an active and preserved area of Revolutionary history, spending many hours of my childhood roaming the woods and fields of Revolutionary significance, taking short field trips to Jockey Hollow, Fort Nonsense, and the Ford Mansion. Where I teach in Hunterdon County, the most notable area is Washington’s Crossing State Park, with which many of my students are completely unfamiliar, and the war to them
seems very distant. It is important to find nearby locations and people that are
connected to the Revolution era.

In my research for the New Jersey Council for the Social Studies, I was looking
for information on people from Hunterdon County who were actively involved in the
Revolutionary War. There were many references to soldiers, the Commissary General for Washington’s army and the local militia, but I came across one primary
source that I thought might catch the interest of my students.

Through researching into the life of this average local person, James Parker, reading about his daily missives on the management of the property, connections to the effects that the war had on the common people became evident. Parker’s
connections began as a proprietor whose primary residence was in one of the colonial capitals, Perth Amboy. He was a major landowner in Hunterdon County, owning land in what is now Kingwood, Union, Bethlehem, and Tewksbury Townships and built a large stone house in Union Township called Shipley. It is interesting to note that many people in this local area were not following the political patriots, but many had loyalist leanings or were ambivalent.

Mr. Parker was one of those who did not support the patriotic feelings and was
sentenced and jailed by the New Jersey Council of Safety during the summer of 1777, in Morristown, for refusing to take an oath renouncing loyalty to Britain. He was paroled and exchanged for a Patriot held in New York in 1778. At this time, he spent
more and more of his time in Hunterdon County, overseeing his lands. Some think
that he was avoiding the political climate of the large shore town of Perth Amboy,
though he documents in his farm journal his travels back and forth to his original home for proprietor meetings.

Some other examples of Parker’s political leanings come from an entry in his journal that appeared sympathetic to a local loyalist family, the Voughts who lived in Clinton, known then as Hunt’s Mill, about three miles away from Parker’s home in Pittstown.. On December 18, 1778, Doc Smith took his contribution to a relief fund for women, wives of people gone into the British line and had all of their effects sold. This is the same date that the Voughts had all of their belongings auctioned off. These families were considered traitors by the New Jersey Legislature, which allowed all of their property and possessions to be confiscated. At this time, a large amount of the British army and many of their sympathizers occupied areas of New York and Staten
Island) (Gigantino 2015)

The farm journal expresses many tasks that most would take for granted at the
time, documented in amazing detail, though commonplace and ordinary back then.
These entries in this primary source give glimpses of insight on the challenges of
conducting business during the Revolutionary War. He notes that on July 1, 1778, he was in the meadow with great firing heard at a distance, “Regulars and Continental troops engaged in general or skirmishes since Sunday last.” He notes that it was a “severe engagement” and we can assume that he was hearing the Battle of Monmouth and he must have been at Perth Amboy to be in the proximity to hear the
fighting, even though he does not mention it. There are no references of any major
engagement during this time period anywhere near his lands in Hunterdon County.

Financial struggle, even for wealthy proprietors, was a part of daily life. The
farm journal mentions the use of many different denominations of hard currency:
Continental Dollars, Johannes and Moidore, which were Portuguese gold coins, English Guineas, New York Currency, English Pounds and Spanish dollars. In January of 1779, Parker discusses an issue with the prevalence of counterfeiting, by mentioning that he was buying land from Abraham Bonnell. He could not confirm if the money he was paying with was counterfeit. Bonnell said he didn’t believe any was, due to being very careful to examine the bills and that the mark of a printer was not necessarily a proof of authenticity. At one point he mentions, “Paid for bushel of wheat in hard money.”

This may have been noted because of the general lack of coinage and the use of
continental paper money. He noted on March 5, 1780 that taxes were collected but there was a scarcity of money, and on March 13 taxes were collected on his Bethlehem property, and he complains about having no money until he could collect on his debts. On March 23, taxes were collected on Tewksbury property, and he mentions that he is owed more money than he can pay; he can’t pay the taxes until his debtors pay. For the same year, he was taxed on 200 acres, was able to pay three-quarters of the bill but had no continental money, so he borrowed it.

Everyone knows that Continental and British troops moved all around New Jersey. It is common knowledge that they were located near the famous areas of conflict such as Monmouth, Trenton, Princeton, and Washington’s Crossing at the Delaware River. Troops on both sides of the war marched through Hunterdon County and
stopped to rest their soldiers and horses.

On December 4, 1778, Parker mentions being told by Moore Furman, a local miller and merchant who was well connected as a Deputy Quartermaster General for New Jersey, that Gen. Burgoyne’s army was marching to Virginia and would be quartered in the neighborhood as they marched along. On December 5, troops of the 1st Division came down with three companies of men, eight officers. He notes little business was conducted due to attending the troops. On December 6th, the 1st Division “marcht” off and the 2nd division came in. Charles Stewart (local and
the Commissary General of Washington’s army) spared a gallon of spirits. On
December 7th the 2nd division left, no others came, on December 8th, the 3rd
division troops came with six companies and five officers of the 62nd regiment, on
December 9th, the 3rd division left. Parker noted that the Brunswick troops arrived with three officers and 78 men on the 10th and that little work was accomplished when troops were there. December 11th was active with part of a company of ‘foreign troops” that were there with a major, two horses, a baggage wagon with four more horses; this group left on December 13th.

Imagine the disruption of regular life and business when these troops had been
quartered on the property. May 15, 1779 brought troops from the Continental army through the Pittstown area. James Parker notes that the Regiment of the New Jersey Brigade, commanded by Colonel Ogden, marched to Pittstown on the way to Easton with 300-350 men. The Continental troops pastured horses in local fields. Parker notes that he put into pasture twelve Continental horses, then took on
seven more Continental horses, ending the day with a total of twenty. On August 25th, he received from Nehemiah Dunham, who built the stone mill in nearby Clinton, five barrels of flour for Continental service. On August 25th, he put into pasture 12 Continental horses. On August 26th he took seven more Continental horses, September 4th put up nine more Continental horses and on September 18th, all Continental horses left.

In today’s military, food and supplies are provided by the government, but back in
Revolutionary times, troops were expected to be supplied by local people, sometimes
with promissory notes, sometimes by donation with no recompense. Sometimes a
tax was paid to help sponsor troops. In Parker’s journal he mentions that on July
12,1779, he paid Adam Hope a tax toward raising a state regiment, as assessed by
Colonel Beavers and Charles Coke, of 45 dollars. On August 25th, he received from
Nehemiah Dunham of Clinton five barrels of flour for Continental service. He noted a meeting in Pittstown on January 18, 1780, “Spent day in Pittstown where residents met to deliver cattle and grain collected for the army.”

Students need to imagine for themselves that not all of the population of New Jersey followed the Patriot cause, most sources agree that in the colonies they made up only about thirty to forty percent of the population. They believe that around twenty
percent were acknowledged Loyalists, while the remaining population were neutral.
There were many risks on both ends of the political spectrum, with neighbors who
harassed or reported neighbors, or turned their coats when it was to their benefit.

They need to experience the feelings of taking sides, or remaining neutral in situations. It is important to realize that everyone in New Jersey was involved in the Revolutionary War because it influenced their ordinary lives in ways that did not directly involve battles, shooting, famous officers and other incidents memorialized with statues and National Parks. The areas right around the corner, a barn down the street, an old house, mill or tavern, a name of a road in New Jersey, may have been owned or named after ordinary people whose stories were intimately intertwined with the Revolutionary War.

The decisions of James Parker and others were difficult for them and they have
relevance for us today whenever we receive criticism for our decisions.


References
Gigantino, J.J. (2015). The American
Revolution in New Jersey: Where the
Battlefront Meets the Home Front. Rutgers
University Press.


Stevens, S.B. (2015). All Roads Lead to
Pittstown. Hunterdon County Historical
Commission

Slavery in New Jersey: Teaching Hard History Through Primary Sources

Slavery in New Jersey: Teaching Hard History Through Primary Sources

by Dana Howell

Photo of the Marlpit Hall Family

For nearly a century, the Monmouth County Historical Association (MCHA) has told the story of the Taylor family at Marlpit Hall, the c. 1760 historic house museum in Middletown, NJ. It is a fascinating story indeed, and speaks to the strife between Patriots and Loyalists in Monmouth County, a hotbed of activity during the Revolutionary War. Until recently, however, a chapter of the house’s history had gone untold. In October of 2021, MCHA unveiled the exhibit 

Beneath the Floorboards: Whispers of the Enslaved at Marlpit Hall to include this forgotten chapter. This award-winning exhibit was the culmination of two years of extensive research done by curators Bernadette Rogoff and Joe Zemla to interpret the home to include the long-silenced voices of the enslaved who lived there.

Primary source documentation and discoveries of material culture were the foundations of the research done to uncover the lives of seven of the twelve known enslaved individuals at Marlpit. Birth, death and census records, wills, runaway ads, inventories, bills of sale, and manumissions (or freedom papers) shed light on the experiences of Tom, York, Ephraim, Clarisse, Hannah, Elizabeth, and William. In 2020, Joe Zemla discovered secret caches of artifacts hidden beneath the floorboards of the kitchen loft living quarters that spoke to their religion and protective rituals, while archaeological digs supervised by Dr. Rich Veit of Monmouth University provided further evidence to piece together what life may have looked like for the enslaved. Throughout the house, mannequins dressed in                        

historically accurate reproduction clothing bring each individual to life, supplemented by their carefully researched biographical panels. The artifacts they left behind are now on display; there is no longer a need for them to be hidden from view.

One of the most prevalent comments made by visitors is that they were unaware that slavery existed in New Jersey. For many years, our educational system had been complacent with the general notion that the northern states were free, while the South had enslaved labor. New Jersey has been referred to as the “most southern of the northern states,” second only to New York in the number of enslaved persons and the very last to legally abolish the institution on January 23rd, 1866.

Comparatively, little has been written about slavery in the North. We can read about
the facts of the matter, but the personal stories in the Floorboards exhibit make an impact that no textbook or blog can. The enslaved are presented without any form of politicization, but rather from an evidence-based and humanized lens. Students are able to connect with them, particularly with Elizabeth and William, who were born in the home and are represented as children – another sad fact of slavery that often goes overlooked. It is a unique opportunity to be able to mentally place these individuals in surroundings which are familiar to the student, albeit long ago. The students learn that we can make educated guesses about what life was like during the time in which the enslaved lived and explore the spaces they inhabited, but we can never truly understand their experiences as enslaved human beings. The only thing we can do is try to imagine it, using historical evidence from primary sources as our guide.

There is a sad deficit in age-appropiate classroom resources to teach slavery, and almost none that cover slavery in the North. This deficit creates roadblocks for public school teachers who are mandated to teach these topics as required by the NJ Department of Education’s 2020 Student Learning Standards, incorporating the 2002 Amistad Law.

 monmouthhistory.org/intermediate-btf

While nothing can compare to the experience of actually visiting Marlpit Hall, the opportunity to do so poses challenges for many school districts. In order to make the fascinating information in the exhibit as accessible as possible to students, MCHA has created two NJ standards-based digital education resources adapted for the elementary and middle/high school levels. Created under the advisorship of respected professionals in the fields of education and African American history, both age-appropriate resources provide background on the system of slavery in New Jersey with a focus on the enslaved at Marlpit Hall. In it, they will be introduced to each individual, along with the primary sources that helped to build their stories. Dr. Wendy Morales, Assistant Superintendent of the Monmouth Ocean Educational Services Commission, notes “The questions and activities included in this resource are standards-aligned and cross-curricular. This means students will not only learn historical facts, but will be challenged to think like historians, analyzing primary sources and making connections between historical eras.” Creative writing, art, music, and civics are all explored.

The section on the origins of slavery in New Jersey stress that the enslaved came here not as slaves, but as individuals who were taken from a homeland that had its own culture and civilization. Two videos, courtesy of slavevoyages.org, make a powerful impact. Students will get to view a timelapse of the paths of over 35,000 slave ship voyages, plotted in an animated graph. This visual representation helps students visually process the magnitude of the forced migration of the enslaved, while a 3-D modeling of an actual slave ship offers a uniquely realistic view of these vessels.

 Time lapse of plotted slave ships         Video featuring 3-D model of slave ship

Both grade level resources come with downloadable worksheets that can be customized to accommodate differentiated learning strategies, and submitted through Google Classroom. Teacher answer keys are provided for guidance as well. MCHA is proud to provide these resources free of charge to aid educators in their responsibility to teach slavery. The resources offer a guided approach to help educators navigate this sensitive and often difficult topic in the classroom. The new mandates are an excellent start to correcting the record on New Jersey’s history of enslavement, but it is truly New Jersey’s educators who will place their personal marks on bringing relevance and reverence to the topic in the classroom.

These resources can be found under the education tab at monmouthhistory.org/education-homepage. MCHA welcomes all questions and comments to dhowell@monmouthhistory.org.