PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Historical Society of Plainfield will host a lecture and discussion entitled “Plainfield’s Hidden Black History,” led by Nancy Piwowar, President of the Historical Society of Plainfield. 

“Plainfield’s Hidden Black History” lecture will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m., 602 West Front St., and will include photographs from the Historical Society’s archival collection, a discussion of the “1932 Survey of Negro Life in New Jersey,” and the 1947 study of Plainfield.

Plainfield was a part of the “1932 Survey of Negro Life in New Jersey.” This study presented a picture of African-American life in New Jersey, and included population, housing, employment, health, and recreation statistics to name a few.  The 1947 study was an experimental study that focused on Plainfield, even though Plainfield’s name was not used.

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“As a life-long resident of Plainfield, it was not until recently that I have found these documents, which are giving me a new perspective on my life in Plainfield.  The statistics presented in the survey and study are eye-opening, and bring a different context to past and present events,” said Nancy Piwowar. 

Nancy Piwowar is a graduate of Plainfield High School, attended Jefferson School, Washington School as part of the 6th grade plan, and Hubbard Junior High School.  She is a graduate of Wilson College, and a retired Postal worker.  She has contributed to many local history books, including the “Encyclopedia of New Jersey,” in 2004.

Tours of the Drake House Museum will be given at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.; the lecture will start at 4 p.m.  Seating for the lecture is limited, and will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Light refreshments will be served.  Members are free, and donations are always appreciated from non-members.



It was at the Drake House that George Washington consulted with his officers during and after the Battle of Short Hills fought over the entire Plainfield area on June 25-27, 1777. On permanent display at the Drake House Museum are three Colonial era rooms--the kitchen, the Queen Anne dining room, and the Washington bedroom. The parlor and the Harberger Library are interpreted as period Victorian rooms.

The Drake House Museum displays two large paintings by noted Civil War painter Julian Scott, a Plainfield resident and a Medal of Honor recipient.  A Union County history card exhibit panel about Caesar, a freed African American and Revolutionary War teamster, is located in the Queen Anne dining room.  A National and New Jersey Historic Site, the Drake House Museum is an exciting link to Plainfield’s Revolutionary War history.   

The Drake House Museum is a city-owned public museum administered by the Historical Society of Plainfield and is located at 602 West Front Street, Plainfield, New Jersey. Donations are always appreciated.  Onsite parking is available. For directions and more information about the Drake House and the Historical Society of Plainfield, visit

Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of Department of State through a grant administered by the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, Department of Parks and Recreation; a HEART Grant from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders; the City of Plainfield; the Plainfield Cultural and Heritage Commission; the Hyde and Watson Foundation; the McCutchen Foundation; the Plainfield Foundation; and the Gannett Foundation.