In Union County, NJ, many soldiers of African ancestry answered President Lincoln’s call for troops during the Civil War and enlisted in regiments. They fought not only for country but also for their comrades in chains in the South and for the promise of equality that they had for so long been denied. Through their stories, never-before-seen photos and service records, local historian Ethel M. Washington tells a largely overlooked but riveting history of patriotic black servicemen.
ISAAC DRAKE - 1st COUSIN - Isaac Drake built "Drake House" in Plainfield, NJ in 1746. It was for his son Nathanial. Isaac, his freed slave Caesar and three sons built the house. It is still standing, although radically remodeled in the 1800s. Today it is "Drake House Museum".
Before graduate student Mike King began using his given name, Martin Luther, before Detroit Red changed his name to Malcolm X, and before Medgar Evers joined the NAACP, civil rights activist Harry T. Moore and his wife, Harritte, were murdered. He was the first civil rights leader to be assassinated, but few know his name. His murder was the spark that ignited the American civil rights movement, but even few know his story.
In an iconic photo dating back to Feb. 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie raise their fists in the air as they salute cheering crowds following Mandela's release from the Victor Verster prison. The anti-apartheid icon spent 27 years in jail before being released.
Betsey Stockton (c. 1798–1865) was an African American educator and missionary born into slavery in Princeton, NJ. She gained her freedom at 20 and travelled to Hawaii, Canada and Philadelphia teaching and serving as a nurse. She moved back to Princeton in 1835 and spent the rest of her life enriching the lives of the members of the local African American community. There is a window memorialized to her in the Witherspoon Street Church, Princeton, NJ.