Special Collections and University Archives is delighted to present a special panel presentation on "New Jersey African
Americans and the Civil War," on Monday, January 28th. The panel discussion will be held from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the
Remigio U. Pane Room on the first floor of the Archibald S. Alexander Library in New Brunswick. The panel features Joseph
G. Bilby of the New Jersey National Guard Militia Museum, Larry A. Greene of Seton Hall University, and Professor Clement
A. Price of Rutgers University.
A large and vibrant African-American community lived in New Jersey before the Civil War approximately 4% of the state
population. Years after the abolition of slavery, African Americans still lacked legal and political rights, and many
faced poverty, job discrimination, and racism. During the tense period leading up to the Civil War, African-American
community leaders emerged to play important roles in the abolition movement and the Underground Railroad. During the war,
New Jersey's African Americans welcomed the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. The
overall reaction to the proclamation in New Jersey was mixed, however, with many in the dominant Democratic party
condemning it as an infringement on property and states' rights. Following the proclamation, many New Jersey African
Americans enlisted in the Union army. Although New Jersey did not give its name to any black regiments, it can be
estimated that a few thousand African Americans from New Jersey served with the U.S. Colored Troops, in regiments from
other states, or in the US Navy.
These topics and many others will be explored by our distinguished panel. Clement Price is the Board of Governors
Distinguished Service Professor of History and the director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern
Experience at Rutgers University, Newark. He is the author of Freedom Far Distant: A Documentary History of
Afro-Americans in New Jersey (1980), and many other scholarly works. Larry A. Greene, professor of history at Seton Hall
University, specializes in the study of the Civil War, African-American history, and the history of the South. He is the
author "The Emancipation Proclamation in New Jersey and the Paranoid Style," New Jersey History (1973) and most recently,
"New Jersey During the Civil War and Reconstruction," in the Anthology of New Jersey History, just published by the
Rutgers University Press. Joseph G. Bilby is a free lance writer and historical consultant. He is the author of numerous
books and articles about New Jersey history, including Freedom to All (2011), his latest book on the experience of New
Jersey's African-American soldiers. Joe Bilby is a member and publications editor of New Jersey's official Civil War
Sesquicentennial Committee. The panel will be moderated by Kenneth Cleary of the Historical Society of Haddonfield.
This presentation is one of a series of programs highlighting the Special Collections and University Archives
exhibition, "Struggle Without End: New Jersey and the Civil War." For more information or assistance with parking, please
contact Fernanda H. Perrone, exhibitions coordinator, at 848-932-6154 or
This exhibition and public programs are made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. Any
views, findings, conclusions or recommendations in these presentations do not necessarily represent those of the National
Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.