PLAINFIELD, NJ – History will come alive in Union County during Black History Month with the presentation of “Quakers, African Americans and Racial Justice: In the Lead Up to the Civil War” at the Plainfield Quaker Meeting House. Developed in collaboration with the Rahway and Plainfield Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, the event is sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs in the Department of Parks and Community Renewal. The program will take place on Saturday, February 5, from 9:15 a.m. – 12 noon at the Meeting House, 225 Watchung Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060.
“We are pleased to sponsor such an interesting program at the start of Black History Month, featuring three knowledgeable presenters: Roger Dreisbach-Williams, Richard T. Irwin, and Vanessa Julye,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, liaison to the Union County Cultural and Heritage Programs Advisory Board. “And the historic Plainfield Quaker Meeting House, built around 1788, is the perfect setting for this informative presentation.”
Vanessa Julye, a self-described Friend of Color in the Religious Society of Friends, is the co-author of Fit for Freedom, Not Friendship (Quaker Press, 2009) along with Donna McDaniel. The authors document three centuries of Quakers committed to ending racial injustices yet, with few exceptions, hesitant to invite African Americans into their Society. Ms. Julye graduated from Westtown School, a Friends boarding school, and earned her B.A. from Temple University in Philadelphia.
Richard T. Irwin received his B.A. from Lebanon Valley College and his M.A. from Temple University. He is the editor of History of Randolph Township (1976) and historiographer of the Friends Meeting House and Cemetery Association of Randolph Township, New Jersey.
Roger Dreisbach-Williams has been a member of the Rahway and Plainfield Monthly Meeting for almost 30 years. He has a keen interest in history and has made numerous presentations on the history of the meeting and the witness of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
At the end of the presentations, there will be a guided tour of the Plainfield Meeting House and the historic burial grounds located at the back of the house. Light refreshments will be served.
This public history program is funded in part by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division in the Department of State.
The registration fee is $10.00. To register or to request a program brochure, contact the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, 633 Pearl Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202. Telephone 908-558-2550. NJ Relay users dial 711. Or E-mail: email@example.com Assistive services will be made available if requested two weeks in advance.
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