By MercerMe Community Contributor on March 10, 2022
Timberlane Middle School will hold the first annual Witness Stones ceremony on Thursday, April 28, 2022 from 9:30am to 10:45am at the Hopewell Old School Baptist Meeting House at 46-48 W Broad St, Hopewell, NJ 08525.
Due to the small size of the venue, the event is by invitation only.
The Witness Stones Project, Inc. of Guilford, Ct., seeks to restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities. The Project provides research assistance, teacher development, and curriculum support to help middle school students study the history of slavery in their own communities. The students explore the lives of enslaved individuals through primary source documents.
Timberlane students will bring the Hopewell community together to place a Witness Stone (a permanent brass marker) to memorialize an enslaved individual, Friday Truehart, who came to this region with the Reverend Oliver Hart from South Carolina, when he was a thirteen year boy. This stone will honor where Friday lived, worked, and worshiped in the Hopewell region.
At public installation ceremonies, students, faculty, administrators, historians, public officials, local clergy, and the larger community will remember and honor the forgotten through music, poetry, oration, and reflection. The Project’s hope is that the students’ work and the public memorials inspire communities to learn their true history, dismantle current inequities, and build a just future.
The project and event will be completed and organized in conjunction with the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum and its founders, Elaine Buck and Beverly Mills. Timberlane Middle School is proud to be the first school in the state of New Jersey to undertake a Witness Stones Project.