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African-American Community Landmarks Tour, Saturday June 7, 9AM

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Posted by Urban Times News on May 30, 2003 at 15:08:31:

Afro-American Historical Society Museum
Museum Director: Neal Brunson, Esq.
1841 Kennedy Boulevard
Jersey City, NJ 07305
(2nd Floor Greenville Public Library)
Fax: 201-547-5392


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Jersey City-History buffs will be able to board a tour bus on Saturday June 7 at the Afro-American Historical Society Museum for a trip back to the last century and beyond, personally escorted by Theodore Brunson, museum curator. The tour will hit all the points of historic interest centered on the life of the African American community here. The tour is scheduled to start at 9 am.

Brunson ought to know. He’s been at this labor of love for the last 27 years. He came down from Bergen County to spend a few days “helping out” back in 1975. Since then he has painstakingly pieced together a rich tapestry of the life of Jersey City’s African American community stretching back centuries.

Brunson will lead the tour of the many historically significant points of Jersey City and focus on the African American Community here as it evolved over the years. The 78 year old Brunson says it is important for young people especially to know their history. “Knowing your history helps you know who you are and what you are capable of.”

Churches will figure prominently in the tour, historically important points in the social life of the African American community. Many African American historical figures have either resided in or passed through Jersey City at one time or another. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave an address here at St. Peter’s College. But did you know that Marcus Garvey also lived here and for a time so did Booker T. Washington. Jersey City was a major terminal on the Underground Railway, taking escaped slaves to freedom in Canada. Nearly every one of the thousands of fugitive slaves that made it to freedom in Canada passed through Jersey City enroute.

Mills Street, near what is now the Jersey City Medical Center, was the site of the beginning of Jersey City’s first African American neighborhood. “Most people here are not aware of the tremendous history here,” says Brunson, whose days are spent continually increasing and preening the Museum’s collection housed in the Greenville Branch of the Jersey City Public Library and occupies the building’s top floor.

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