Sponsored by the Friends of Lifelong Learning
New Jersey Enslavement & The Underground Railroad
Rick Geffken, author
Slavery was “baked into” New Jersey from its very beginnings. In the 1664-65 Concession and Agreement of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of New Caesarea, or New Jersey, Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret granted prospective colonists 75 acres of land “for every weaker servant, or slave, male or female, exceeding the age of fourteen years, which anyone shall send or carry, arriving there.” This provision of one of New Jersey’s founding documents nonetheless made chattel slavery foundational.
Enslaved people were running away from their masters for years through New Jersey, in attempts to reach New York and then Canada. For decades leading up to the Civil War in the 1860s, the paths to freedom through the Garden State came to be known as the Underground Railroad. Be introduced to the history of slavery in NJ and learn how some residents helped fleeing slaves reach freedom. Includes light refreshments.