Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gravestones of Slaves in Mahwah

To the editor:

A recent article in The Ramapo News about historic findings along Route 202 by Ramapo College Adjunct Professor Jeff Williamson could provide new information about slavery during the 1700s and 1800s in New Jersey.  Professor Williamson found that the names on the gravestones in a local cemetery belong to slaves who worked for wealthy families in the area of Mahwah.

I thought readers might like to know about Williamson’s future plan to preserve the gravestones.  His plan includes seeding the area in the spring.  The naturally growing creeping myrtle has helped to protect the site, but Williamson would like to seed wildflowers and low grass as well because they will help further protect the gravestones.

Williamson’s main objective is to get the gravestones protected by a historical society so he can preserve them from becoming more damaged.  My objective is to inform residents of Bergen County and create awareness to preserve the gravestones.  Also this awareness can lead to reporters further investigating slavery in New Jersey.  More information can be found at

Adriana Cappelli
Mahwah, NJ

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