Jul 17, 2017
A FREE LECTURE BY KELLEE GREEN BLAKE
RETIRED DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ARCHIVES - MID ATLANTIC REGION
Wednesday, July 19, at 7:00 PM
The Pennington School, 112 W. Delaware Avenue
Pennington, NJ 08534
The Pennington African Cemetery is one of the oldest historical landmarks in the area. It is the resting place of people born before the Civil War up until the Civil Rights era. It was purchased by people of African descent as a place to bury their family, during a time when racial segregation in all aspects of life was legal. This peaceful one acre parcel is the resting place of civil war veterans, teachers, laborers and other important people who laid the foundation for the Pennington area.
Today the cemetery also serves as an important cultural resource. Educators, researchers and neighbors all use the cemetery as a source of instruction, and a place for reflection. No fewer than 9 veterans of the Civil War are buried here. A record of their contribution as part of the United States Colored Troops is preserved on their headstones. A monument given by the town of Pennington in recognition of a faithful civil servant is also found here, as well as many important examples of 19th century burial customs.
The cemetery is maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers through the Pennington African Cemetery Association. The preservation of this national treasure is our mission. We welcome anyone with similar interests to join us.
Jul 13, 2017
|Three Centuries of African-American Soldiers|
Information reaches the general public sporadically through the media. Commercially, Hollywood produced Glory, and Red Tails. and TNT Buffalo Soldiers. PBS' "The African Americans" and "Slavery and the Making of America" touch upon portions of it. PBS also made a 5 minute clip,"Black Soldiers and Sailors in the War of 1812".
Why is this so? In my opinion, a large part of it is due to the collective historical fear that has been a part of this nation's psyche since its' founding - that this military record gives the lie to the persistent stereotypes, myths about and oppression of African Americans. The history contradicts the view of blacks as dangerous, criminal, and immoral - needing to be kept in their place. It juxtaposes the mistreatment of Africans Americans with the democratic values of the enlightenment which informed this country's founding - prejudices which form the basis for the justification of white privilege, even to this day. This contradiction has risen to the surface through our history. With every war, the prowess of the African warrior was repeatedly demonstrated. Always, under the surface, lurked the fear that if African Americans were to wrest themselves from under the thumb of white supremacy, they indeed would be capable of repaying their mistreatment received in kind, and undermine white privilege and status. Progress for blacks was viewed as a threat, and after a war, the status quo needed be reasserted.
We are in denial that this attitude is ingrained in our national psyche. Until we confront it, and do the hard work of institutional change, black lives will always matter less.