PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Historical Society of Plainfield hosted a lecture entitled “Plainfield’s Hidden Black History” to celebrate Black History Month in February, with a discussion led by society president Nancy Piwowar.  Zion Briddle-Fredericks, an 8-year old in second grade at Ronald Reagan Academy in Elizabeth, was in attendance that day.

The “Plainfield’s Hidden Black History” talk included photographs from an archival collection; a discussion of the “1932 Survey of Negro Life in New Jersey” that presented a picture of African-American life in New Jersey, with population, housing, employment, health, and recreation statistics; and the 1947 study of Plainfield, an experimental study about the city.

TAPinto Plainfield caught up with Zion and his family at the Drake House on Sunday as he dropped off copies of the book he was inspired to pen after the lecture.  When we asked him what made him write "Black's Segregation in Plainfield," he responded, saying, "my family." 

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On the first page of his book, Zion writes, "Plainfield is a beautiful city.  There is alot that we can learn about black history, that took place in Plainfield, New Jersey.  I attended a Black History Program at the Drake House Museam where my great-great grandfather helped to keep it clean.  I learned alot and was inspired to share my experience with you."

Zion said he also learned a lot from "Miss Nancy" and brochures with information from the Plainfield Public Library.

Copies of Zion's book are available for purchase for just one dollar at the Drake House Museum, at 602 West Front St.  He said a portion of the proceeds will benefit Mt. Olive Baptist Church, his family's church that is also the oldest Black church in the city.

The Drake House Museum is open to the public on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. is Elizabeth’s free daily news source. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook at and Twitter @TAPElizabeth. 

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