Local Museum Creates Black History Resources for Area Schools

Posted on October 12, 2021

SSAAM Board member Kevin Burkman (left) and Village Elementary School Principal Susan Lacy (right) display the new map at the school.

Last week, Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM) board member Kevin Burkman delivered a detailed, poster-sized map of Black history sites in the Sourland Mountain region to Village Elementary School and other local schools as part of the museum’s educational outreach program. Montgomery, Hopewell Valley, Princeton, and Hillsborough school districts, as well as the Princeton Day School, also received copies of the map for classroom use.

Burkman, an expert geographic information system (GIS) mapping analyst, used historical records to pinpoint 25 important Black history sites in central New Jersey. Locations include Stoutsburg Cemetery, one of the oldest African American cemeteries in the state, where local Black residents including Revolutionary War and Civil War veterans were laid to rest beginning in the 1700s; Minnietown, a Hopewell community where African Americans and Native Americans lived until the late 1800s; Put’s Tavern, a popular Sourland Mountain business owned by former slave Harry Put; the Higgins Farmhouse in Montgomery, which served as a stop on the Underground Railroad; and the National Historic Register-listed Mount Zion AME Church in Skillman, the current home of SSAAM.

Burkman hopes that schools will use this map to expand knowledge and appreciation of Black history in New Jersey. “If students look at this map and think a little deeper about the ways African Americans have contributed to their communities’ histories from the very beginning,” he said, “I’ll consider it a job well done.”

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 eager to engage in educational outreach to our neighboring communities,” said Executive Director Donnetta Johnson. “Together we will build a broader engagement with and understanding of our rich history and shared future.”

As part of its education program, SSAAM will provide copies of the map to schools, organizations, and local governments free of charge. Please contact info@ssaamuseum.org for more information.

Source: SSAAM