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"Rich History, Bright Future"

Dey Mansion to Develop Exhibit on Revolutionary War-Era Enslaved and Indentured Servants

PASSAIC COUNTY - The New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH) recently awarded a $17,000 Action Grant to the County of Passaic to develop a new exhibit and program that highlights the experiences of enslaved and indentured persons during the Revolutionary War in New Jersey. The NJCH Action Grant is awarded to organizations looking to implement new programs or expand existing projects that offer local communities the opportunity to explore the shared history and cultures that constitute the American melting pot.

“We are excited to partner with the New Jersey Council for the Humanities to create more inclusive programming that will highlight an often overlooked segment of our history,” said Freeholder Director Sandi Lazzara. “The Dey Mansion is rapidly adding new exhibits and programming that is drawing new and returning visitors, and we are looking forward to adding this newest exhibit.”

The Dey Mansion is currently housing the “Oh Freedom!” traveling display, which is on loan from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. The “Oh Freedom!” display spotlights the African-American contribution to the Revolutionary War for the American and British sides. When the “Oh Freedom!” exhibit travels to a new location, the Dey Mansion will install a permanent display featuring the experiences of enslaved and indentured persons and how their stories affected the creation of the United States.

“The ‘Oh Freedom!’ traveling exhibit is a popular addition to Dey Mansion,” said Freeholder Assad Akhter. “It makes sense that these grant funds will be used to add upon that experience by creating a new permanent showcase.”

The action grant from the NJCH will allow the county to develop permanent exhibits and expand both public and school programming to highlight the important, yet seldom explored, stories of those enslaved and living in servitude in Colonial New Jersey. This project will help to re-imagine what local history means for all Passaic County and northern New Jersey residents, making history more relatable and engaging for our County’s diverse population. The County is already entrenched in the planning stages of this project and these resources from NJCH will help Passaic County implement its vision to exhibit original content, conduct a series of lectures, public and school programming, and, ultimately, incorporate this important historical perspective into its permanent narrative.