NEWTONVILLE - It may surprise some people that the Civil Rights Movement played a role in New Jersey history, but that is a situation the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey is hoping to remedy with its traveling exhibit “A Time For Change: Civil Rights in New Jersey.”
“The exhibit explains the history of civil rights in New Jersey,” said African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey founder and president Ralph E. Hunter Sr.
The exhibit, currently housed in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Newtonville, focuses on such events as the 1964 Democratic Convention held in Atlantic City, a major part of civil rights history as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went to the convention. The exhibit also examines the race riots that towns throughout the state experienced during the period.
The exhibit was created in conjunction with Stockton University and will shortly be making its way to Princeton. The exhibit is one of several traveling exhibits offered by the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey that visit schools and organizations.
“There is a great deal of need in South Jersey to understand African-American history,” said Hunter, who has been researching and collecting items of African-American history for at least 45 years. He also was active in the Civil Rights Movement, as having participated in the March on Washington.
The African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey first began in 2002 when Hunter was offered wall space for some of his collected items at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in Newtownville. Eventually, the museum grew to also include a location in Atlantic City at the Noyes Arts Garage. Each location has different exhibits dedicated to African-American history.
Along with the “A Time For Change” exhibit, the Newtonville location also has exhibits on Black Cowboys and Buffalo Soldiers, Muhammad Ali and Prince.
For more information on the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey and the exhibits offered at the two locations, please visit http://www.aahmsnj.org.