Potluck Society invites you to join us on Sunday April 22, 2018 from 2:00 to 4:30pm for a talk by authors and community leaders Beverly Mills and Sharon “Elaine” Buck. Our special guests will share the fruits of their heritage and ten years of research. We will also celebrate with a “soul food” PotLuck meal contributed by you, our members, friends and guests. To celebrate the event, PotLuck Society members and their guests are being challenged to experiment in the kitchen and prepare – or purchase – an African-American soul food item or a beverage to share. For recipe ideas, our speakers recommend checking out http://www.
Our event will be held at the Princeton YWCA Bramwell House. The Bramwell House is directly behind the main building of the YWCA. There is ample parking on Sundays. All community are welcome – including our membership of women and their guests, and all YWCA members – but please RSVP in advance!
Community members and local residents Sharon “Elaine” Buck and Beverly Mills have spent decades collecting research and oral histories, scouring land deeds, church records and preserved cemetery plots to trace the legacy of slavery in their small American town. Their work was recently the subject of a feature article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, and they are in final production for their book “If These Stones Could Talk”.
Their pioneering work is being celebrated for unveiling so many unknown and often-ignored stories about slavery and African American history and presence in central NJ. As they began their formal collaboration into researching the lives of their African American ancestors over ten years ago, Beverly and Elaine recognized the importance of their story when they realized that most of their ancestors were likely to have been brought up the Delaware River as slaves, to what is now the Hopewell Valley region, particularly near the Sourland Mountains.
The mission they undertook was not only to vocalize the hardships and stark realities that so many blacks had faced as slaves and then so-called “apprentices” in the State of New Jersey, but more importantly, to underscore the very real contributions which their ancestors and others have made to building thriving communities, establishing churches, serving as loyal soldiers, suffering as wounded veterans, and making very real economic contributions to the fabric of our town. Without our authors’ efforts, these stories were likely to be overlooked and forgotten in local history accounts. Their passion had its seeds when as young girls, they each searched to understand their identities in school, where they were horrified at textbook accounts whitewashing the reality of slavery in our state, or portraying “happy” servants working at the beck and call of white households.
Their upcoming book “If These Stones Could Talk” will provide a clearer understanding of the African American experience and accomplishments in Hopewell Valley and the surrounding area, to be used as an addendum to the little-known missing black history facts left out of our family histories, our textbooks, and our libraries.
Sharon “Elaine” Buck, is a founder the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum, and a member on the Advisory Board, and a thirty year Trustee of the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association, an historic cemetery for people of African descent located in the Sourland Mountains in Hopewell, New Jersey. She is co-founder of Friday Truehart Consultants, which works closely with K-12 educators from school systems interested in including African American history in their lesson plans and curriculum.
Beverly Mills recently retired from her position as Director for the Workforce Development Board in Mercer County, New Jersey. She is also a founder of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum and a member on the Advisory Board and a thirty-five year Trustee of the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association. Through her research, Beverly has traced her ancestry to African Americans who were enslaved in Hopewell Township, NJ prior to the Revolutionary War. Beverly is the first African American woman to hold the elected position as a Councilwoman in Pennington Borough, NJ.
Together they have created Friday Truehart Consultants, a consulting company that works closely with K-12 educators from various school systems interested in including African American history in their lesson plans and curriculum. As a researchers and speakers, Beverly and Elaine have also partnered with the William Trent House, 1804 Consultants, the Grounds For Sculpture and the National Assessment of Educational Progress for the State of New Jersey to create “The Sankofa Collaborative”, a resource that will ensure that material and resources relating to African American history will be readily accessible statewide to a broader and more diverse audience.