Posted on September 13, 2022

New Jersey Will Erect Black History Markers Under New Law

Nikita Biryukov, New Jersey Monitor, September 8, 2022

New Jersey will begin marking the history of slavery, abolition, and trailblazing within its borders in a bid to recognize and remember the contributions of Black New Jerseyans.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday signed into law a bill requiring the state Historical Commission to establish a Black Heritage Trail that will mark sites of importance throughout the state.


The bill, which passed unanimously in both legislative chambers, sets aside $1 million for markers and plaques at various historical sites identified by the New Jersey Historical Commission to commemorate people, places, or events significant to Black history in New Jersey.

New Jersey has its share of history in that regard. Thomas Mundy Peterson, a Perth Amboy resident, is widely regarded as the first Black American to cast a vote after the ratification of the 15th Amendment, which extended suffrage to Black Americans.

The trail will commemorate the experience of those like Mundy Peterson who left a mark on the state or broke new ground amid opposition from institutional forces, as did Larry Doby, who was the first Black player in the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs and was later inducted into the sport’s hall of fame.


Though New Jersey joined with other northern states against the Confederacy in the Civil War, its history is not free of the ignominy of slavery.

The Garden State was the last northern state to ratify the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, which outlawed slavery and extended citizenship and voting rights to nonwhite Americans.