Historical Slavery Marker Unveiled In Camden County
Cherry Hill Patch
June 19, 2019
Local and state officials joined with the Camden County Historical Society this week to unveil the second of three planned historical markers that will mark slave block auctions, officials announced.
This marker, unveiled on Monday, marks a site in Camden City where African slaves were sold during the 1700s, according to officials. It is located at the intersection of Delaware Avenue and Federal Street in Camden City.
Officials said the point of the ceremony was to pay tribute to the men and women who were taken to the New Jersey shoreline involuntarily, and to reflect on the unjust, ugly institution of slavery in the United States.
It comes at a time when there is an ongoing debate across the country about the removal of monuments that are dedicated to preserving Confederate generals and soldiers. It is a debate that infamously turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. The following fall, the first marker in Camden County was unveiled outside the Walt Whitman Center in Camden.
It is also part of a national movement to post similar markers at sites of slave trade and related activity, officials said. The Historical Society is planning to post one more marker in Camden, at Cooper Poynt Park.
“These markers offer a quiet but constant reminder of the dark and inhumane legacy of slave trading along the Delaware River,” Camden County Freeholder Carmen Rodriquez said. “My hope is that when people come face-to-face with the reality that this was a practice which took place in their own backyard that they’ll pause to reflect on slavery’s lasting effect on this county and its people.”
Prominent political and social leaders attended the unveiling to pay tribute to the lives affected by slavery, and to celebrate the contributions of those brought to the United States against their will. Among the group was New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, Esq., who spoke about the lasting effects of slavery.
“To move our nation forward in healing slavery’s persistent wounds, we have a responsibility to make our racial history visible. This initiative, marking the places where the slave trade occurred within New Jersey, is an important step in recognizing the experiences of enslaved people,” Tahesha said. “As Secretary of State, my office includes the New Jersey Historical Commission, and we are committed to ensuring that these Americans and their stories are included in our shared state history.”
“We must acknowledge past wrongs as the struggle for equality continues. Thanks to the Camden County Historical Society, these markers will highlight a shameful history that must never be repeated,” Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1) said.