Thursday, June 01, 2006

Slave Gravesite Honored

Memorial for the Slaves

On May 26, 2006, the EVA held a memorial cememony on the Van Dyke Farm to honor the slaves who lived, worked, died, and were buried there. According to notarized written testimony from members of the Van Dyke family, the area near the Turnpike Bridge was once dotted with old wooden crosses marking the burial sites of slaves such as Amy who once toiled on the farm.

The EVA has continued hopes of using advanced technology to search the area for signs of the graves, but for now, we selected a spot under a spreading tree to place a memorial to these people whose lives are intertwined with the history of our nation.

The Reverend Robert Turton of the Fresh Ponds Chapel offered prayers at the brief ceremony. James Shackleford, local historian and our expert on the slaves of South Brunswick gave a moving speech expressing sorrow for lost lives and freedom. Jean Dvorak sang to close the ceremony as guests and participants joined hands for the benediction.

The Home News Tribune has posted a slide show with portions of the ceremony at its website:

William Klimowicz of the EVA designed and crafted the marker which reads: "In memory of the African Americans of centuries past whose remains life here in the fields of the Van Dyke farm where they toiled under hardship and difficulty."


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