Public Info

“Snapshots… Black History in Plainfield” on Exhibit at Freeholders Gallery

Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to present “Snapshots… Black History in Plainfield,” an exhibit of twenty photos and text, curated and written by Plainfield Public Library’s Local History Department, headed by archivist Sarah Hull.

“We’re pleased to host this evocative exhibit that celebrates many aspects of local black history,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, liaison to the Union County Cultural and Heritage Advisory Board.

The wide-ranging images feature residents and notable people including accomplished leaders, activists, artists and athletes. Since the city’s beginning, black residents influenced the building and development of Plainfield. The city has been home to numerous social, religious, and professional organizations, some of which are documented in the exhibit.

Exhibit materials were coordinated by Jeff Wassen, with photos including: 1902 postal workers; Milt Campbell, the gold medalist in the decathlon at the 1956 Olympic Games; and Coretta Scott King urging Plainfielders to vote for Jimmy Carter at a rally in 1980. The exhibit also features text exploring subjects including: Slavery in Plainfield; Black-Owned Businesses in the Early 1900s; Early Clubs and Organizations; and Firsts in Education.

The Freeholders Gallery is located on the 6thfloor of the Union County Administration Building, Elizabethtown Plaza, in downtown Elizabeth. Gallery hours are 9 am to 5 pm, weekdays. The exhibit will be displayed through Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

Plainfield Library’s Local History Collection, the largest such collection in Union County, is composed of books, documents, photographs, blueprints, maps, newspapers, personal papers, oral histories, and local organizations’ records of significance in Plainfield and the surrounding communities.

In addition to items relevant to County and State histories, there is also an extensive Genealogy Collection, as well as publications on the American Revolution and the Civil War. Special collections include Fine Arts, Jerseyana, Local Authors, and Diversity Studies. The Local History Room is open to the public on weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm, at 800 Park Avenue in Plainfield. Information about the Local History Collection can also be found online at

For further information, or to learn more about exhibiting at the Freeholders Gallery, contact the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, 633 Pearl Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202; telephone, 908-558-2550; or email NJ Relay users may dial 711.

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