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Local museum creates black history educational resources for New Jersey schools

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originally published: 10/12/2021

(SKILLMAN, NJ) – Last week, Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM) Board member Kevin Burkman provided Village Elementary School with a detailed, poster-sized map of Black History sites in the Sourland Mountain area as part of the museum’s educational program. The school districts of Montgomery, Hopewell Valley, Princeton, and Hillsborough, and Princeton Day School also received copies of the map for use in class.

Burkman, an expert in geographic information systems (GIS) mapping, used historical records to locate 25 key black history sites in central New Jersey. Locations include Stoutsburg Cemetery, one of the state’s oldest African American cemeteries, home to Minnietown, a Hopewell community from the 18th century that was home to African Americans and Native Americans until the late 19th century; Put’s Tavern, a popular Sourland Mountain shop owned by former slave Harry Put; the Higgins Farmhouse in Montgomery, which served as the Underground Railroad stop; and the National Historic Register-listed Mount Zion AME Church in Skillman, the current seat of the SSAAM.

Burkman hopes schools will use this card to increase knowledge and appreciation of New Jersey’s black history. “When students look at this card and think a little deeper about how African Americans have contributed to the history of their communities from the very beginning,” he said, “I consider this a good job.”

As the only African American history museum in central Jersey, SSAAM is committed to sharing the often overlooked culture, experiences, and contributions of the state’s African American residents from slavery to the present day. “SSAAM is always committed to providing education to our neighboring communities,” said Executive Director Donnetta Johnson. “Together we will build a broader engagement and understanding of our rich history and common future.”

As part of its educational program, SSAAM provides free copies of the card to schools, organizations, and local governments. Please contact [email protected] for more informations. The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum is located at 189 Hollow Road in Skillman, New Jersey.

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