History lecture to focus on slavery in Middlesex County

Staff Writer

Middlesex County residents will have an opportunity to travel back in time and take a look at one of the darker eras in the history of New Jersey.

Graham Hodges of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, will speak on the subject of slavery in Middlesex County at 2 p.m. May 9 at Crabiel Hall in Middlesex County College, Edison.

“The history of New Jersey and our region in particular is extremely rich,” said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, chair of the Business Development and Education Committee. “Unfortunately, there are chapters that are painful to all of us as Americans. It is important that we are not only aware of these chapters, but that we learn from these past mistakes and strive toward a better future.”

Hodges is the George Dorland Langdon Jr. professor of history and Africana and Latin American studies. He has written 14 books, including tomes about slavery and African- Americans in the United States. His other works focus on the cart men and taxi drivers of New York City and Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong.

Hodges earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the City College of New York and his doctorate from New York University. The lecture will be roughly 45 minutes long and cover the 1660s to the end of the Civil War. Hodges has previously concentrated his research on slaves in Bergen County, West Jersey and Monmouth County. This will be his first lecture on Middlesex County.

Hodges will discuss what slaves did, how many there were, religious affiliations, any resistance, the Revolutionary War and more.

“The religion argument tells you a lot about the slave owners and the relationship with the slaves,” he said.

Hodges will also discuss the difference in slave treatment across the state due to slave owners’ place of origin, including the difference between Dutch settlers and those who migrated from New England.

The Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission; Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders; and New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State, fund programs at Crabiel Hall.

“I commend the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission for offering such a diverse array of programming,” Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said. “By teaching all aspects of history, we can better educate future generations.”

The lecture is free, but registration is required. For more information or to register, call 732-745-4489.