New Jersey’s Black Heritage Destinations Along the Delaware River
Head to Lawnside, steeped in history as the state’s most significant and largest Black community, established during the late-1700s and initially known as “Snow Hill” and then “Free Haven.” On land purchased by abolitionists in 1840, Lawnside became the first incorporated, self-governing Black municipality north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Reflect at Mount Peace Cemetery, formed in 1890 for Black community members excluded from “whites-only” cemeteries. Buried here were enslaved people, freed Black people, many Civil War veterans (including Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson) and veterans of the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean War. (Address: 329 White Horse Pike, Lawnside, at the intersection with Mouldy Road)
See a spiritual and civic center of the Camden community—the Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church. Established in 1832, it’s the oldest Black church in Camden, situated in the city’s earliest Black settlement, the Fettersville neighborhood. Reverend Thomas Clement Oliver, one of New Jersey’s foremost Underground Railroad operatives, used the church as a safe house for “fugitive slaves” traveling north.
Called "the Cradle of Emancipation," Burlington County possesses an outstanding Black historical presence and a number of sites, especially in Burlington city itself. Make a thought-provoking day of Burlington County’s self-guided African-American history tour, with many of the 16 stops linked to the Underground Railroad.