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For immediate release: Feb. 19, 2008
For further information contact: Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig

New Jersey Judiciary Hosts Black History Month Program

In celebration of Black History Month, the New Jersey Judiciary will present a 75-minute lunchtime program focusing on the Underground Railroad. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner will deliver opening remarks.

The event will be held on Friday, Feb. 22 at 12:30 p.m. in the 4th floor conference center at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex, 25 Market Street, Trenton. The public is invited to attend this free event.

Judge Philip S. Carchman, acting administrative director of the courts, said, "This year's program will be both informative and entertaining. We hope everyone will take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about some of the events and people who have played a critical role in our nation's history."

In a presentation entitled, New Jersey and the Underground Railroad, historian Giles R. Wright of the New Jersey Historical Commission will discuss the overall scope and significance of the Underground Railroad, the secret network of people and places used to assist runaway slaves from the South to find freedom in the northern states and Canada. Mr. Wright will present a slide show and lecture about routes, sites, and persons associated with the Underground Railroad's operation in New Jersey. In addition, the presentation will explore and correct various myths and misrepresentations that have been associated with this fascinating part of our nation's history. A question-and-answer session will follow his talk.

The Black History Month celebration also will feature a presentation by the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Representatives from the museum will re-enact, through period dress and dialogue, historical figures Frederick Douglass and Harriett Tubman. Founded in 1976, the African American Museum is committed to telling the story of African Americans through the preservation, interpretation and exhibition of African American heritage.

Lois Wamaitha will perform an African spiritual in Swahili. Lois, who hails from Kenya, is a former Judiciay employee now attending Rutgers Law School-Camden.

This program is offered through the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the African American Museum.

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