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Feb 04, 2022

MCHA Offers Education on the History of Slavery

By Lori Draz

Monmouth County has a rich history, part of which is the history of slavery and the roles of slaves in the emerging county. 

To get a personal glimpse into this part of history, all are invited to see “Beneath the Floorboards: Whispers of the Enslaved at Marlpit Hall.” This exhibit offers a better understanding of how slavery took root in early Monmouth County, as well as the complex dynamics of daily life and relationships among the enslaved. The telling of New Jersey’s history is often fragmented, with little remembrance of the thousands of men, women and children living under forced servitude for more than two centuries. “Beneath the Floorboards: Whispers of the Enslaved at Marlpit Hall” is framed upon seven of these individuals: Ephraim, William, Elizabeth, Clarisse, Hannah, Tom and York, all of whom once lived at Marlpit Hall. Through extensive archival documentation, archaeological evidence and objects from MCHA’s museum collection – some on view to the public for the first time – visitors will keenly learn the larger story of slavery in Monmouth County and New Jersey. “Beneath the Floorboards: Whispers of the Enslaved at Marlpit Hall” is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 pm.

On Thursday, Feb. 24, Season Two of the “Historically Speaking” online lecture begins with a presentation by historian, professor and author Graham Russell Gao Hodges, whose research on slavery has been integral to “Beneath the Floorboards: Whispers of the Enslaved at Marlpit Hall.” His latest book, “The Marion Thompson Wright Reader,” is a valuable introduction to scholar and activist Thompson Wright’s landmark volume “The Education of Negroes in New Jersey.” First published in 1941, it focused on the state of education for African Americans in the face on segregated and unjust schools as well as her full body of scholarly work.

Lectures in the Historically Speaking series are free, but require registration. Visit MonmouthHistory.org/historically-speaking to receive Zoom information.  

Marlpit Hall is located at 137 Kings Highway in Middletown. To learn more, visit MonmouthHistory.org.