In celebration of Black History Month and New Jersey’s 350th birthday, the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs in the Department of Parks and Recreation invites you to attend a free program, “America’s Forgotten African American Patriots in the American Revolution,” presented by Marion T. Lane, Ed.D. Sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the event will appropriately be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth (Old First), 42 Broad Street at Caldwell Place, Elizabeth, New Jersey, on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. “Old First” was home to the first English-speaking congregation established in New Jersey.
Dr. Lane is the author of “Patriots of African Descent in the Revolutionary War, Part 1,” a colorfully illustrated book that opens the eyes of the young reader (ages 8 and up) to the roles people of color played in the American Revolution. She is one of the few African American members of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the National Gavel Society. Dr. Lane serves as the National President of the Society of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge and is on the Board of Valley Forge National Historic Park. Her book will be available for purchase and signing following the program.
As a complement to this event, members of the DAR from the Crane’s Ford Chapter of Cranford and the Westfield Chapter will have on display original documents and items from their respective collections and answer questions about their organization.
Self-guided tours of the Church’s adjacent American Revolutionary Burial Ground are encouraged. The cemetery has over 2,100 grave sites spanning four centuries. It is the final resting place of Jonathan Dickinson, founder of Princeton University; Shepherd Kollock, founder of New Jersey’s first newspaper; and Rev. James Caldwell, Church pastor and Army Chaplain during the Revolutionary War, and his wife, Hannah Caldwell, both of whom were killed during the Revolution. Her death is depicted on the official Union County seal.
The Feb. 15th event is free and open to the public. Limited on-street parking is available. Paid parking is available at the J. Christian Bollwage Parking Garage near the church at the corner of Caldwell Place and Elizabethtown Plaza. For more information, please call the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs at 908-558-2550 weekdays.