Sunday, March 18, 2007

Lovely Day

Good Friends and Reporters

The New York Times reporter came today. She was a lovely young lady named Courtney who was well prepared and showed a genuine interest with plenty of enthusiasm for learning all she could about the Van Dyke farm, our efforts to preserve it, and, of course the story of the slaves who lived and worked in New Jersey from the 1600's to 1860--and some beyond.

The old farmhouse on the property has intact slave quarters on the upper floor and extensive historical documentation of its past. Our super talented and dedicated James has been researching stories of South Brunswick's (my township's) slaves for over seven years now and is a wealth of well documented information, much of which we all shared over a long afternoon.

Courtney hopes to have an article in the Times by the next weekend, provided the photographer comes between now and then. The publicity could jumpstart some more active interest in the farm's value which might help speed along the preservation movement already underway.

But, simply getting the story of slavery out to the public is important too. Most people believe that slavery was purely an institution of the Southern US states, those which became part of the Confederacy in the American Civil War. The facts speak quite a differents story. The Northeast, especially the large farms, depended on slave labor right up the the war as well, but that story has not often been told. This is a rich and fascinating history our students need to learn. If the news article brings the tale to light, it will be important in so many ways.

Needless to say, with the dreadful footing I didn't even bother trying to work the horses. They don't seem to mind as long as I keep them well fed. Plenty of hay, grain, and water and work just becomes irrelevant. *G*

My only problem of the moment is trying to clean the stalls as I can't push the wheelbarrow anywhere. If the ground had been frozen before the snow, I might be able to shovel a path, but as it stands, below the snow/ice stuff is mud. I am making a pile just beyond the barn by the ring fence. When things dry up I'll be able to use the tractor to shift it out the the bigger manure pile.

Just another winter frustration.


  1. I need more days like yesterday Jean....

  2. jean, your links ... excellent, thank you. will go explore!

  3. and that could link in to the story of slavery from england (bristol was the main port for that, i think)... and there was a piece on the BBC today about modern day slavery, largely in the sex industry. it ain't dead, there's just different victims....

  4. careful jean, if you don't watch yourself people will be trying to get you to run for office! the perils of being an activist doing things for the community, don't you know....