Bordentown Historical Society Bsnner

Downtown Bordentown
City of Bordentown

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Event Calendar - 2019

Untold Stories:  Achieving Furthered Expectations
School No. 2 and the Bordentown Manual and Industrial Training School

Running February through May, 2019


Bordentown Historical Society in cooperation with our community partners, Building Bridges, is proud to present an exhibit series on Bordentown School No. 2 and the Bordentown Manual Training and Industrial School.

The divisiveness of segregation has been felt far and wide in American history, and we need look no further than at our educational institutions to see the impact this widespread practice had on a local level. Untold Stories: Achieving Furthered Expectations reaches into Bordentown’s past with an exhibition and series of programs about two such institutions: School #2, the local segregated elementary school (1842-1948), and the Manual Training and Industrial School (1886-1955), the statewide boarding school located south of town. These programs will offer an understanding of the impact these schools had on those who experienced them firsthand, as well as to help preserve their accomplishments, outcomes, and influence on us all.


The Manual Training and Industrial School (MTIS) of Bordentown from Locomotion Multimedia on Vimeo.


Untold Stories:  A Place Out of Time
Documentary & Discussion

February 2, 2019
1PM – 3PM

Carslake Community Center
207 Crosswicks Street
Bordentown, NJ 08505


In its prime, the Bordentown School was nicknamed the "Tuskegee of the North," after Booker T. Washington's famous Alabama institute. With its 400-acre Georgian style campus, Bordentown could be mistaken for an elite private boarding school. But it was actually a co-educational public school operated by the State of New Jersey which closed the school in 1955, after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.

The story of Bordentown is also the story of black education in America. The film examines the political and historical forces that forged the school's creation and ascent: the violent backlash against Reconstruction reforms, the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, and the birth of the Civil Rights movement. And it explores the causes of its demise, triggered—ironically—by the same advocates for social justice who, by the 1940s, came to see an all-black school as a deplorable symbol of Jim Crow.

A Place Out of Time offers a much-needed preface to the growing national discussion about our historically black institutions and their role in nurturing identity and accomplishment.After the showing, we invite you to stay for a follow-on viewing of a companion interview with the Director, Dave Davidson and MTIS alumnus, Arthur Symes. Light Refreshments will be available.

Untold Stories:  Compromised By Conflict
The Bordentown School and the Struggle for Black Education
Documentary & Discussion

February 16, 2019
Showings at 1PM followed by discussion with its creators
Showings at 3PM followed by discussion with its creators

Friends Meeting House
302 Farnsworth Avenue
Bordentown, NJ 08505


“We are currently in tenth grade at Cherry Hill East High Award of National History Day. National History Day or NHD, is a history club that allows students to dive into historical time periods and create documentaries, exhibits, websites, plays, and papers. This year’s theme for NHD was Conflict and Compromise. Confused by the complexity of the theme, we stumbled on a yard sale picture of the Bordentown Manual and Training School. This school was situated in our state; however, none of us had ever heard the name or learned about the school. The school was a fusion of Washingtonian and Duboisian philosophies, one of the only ones of its kind; and a school that educated African Americans to become lawyers, doctors, and educators during the early 1900s. However, the school was closed due to a terminating compromise that not only was a mystery by itself, but we had to dig through the archives to find any information on the compromise. With the limited resources that we had present, we made sure to tell the story of Bordentown. As young historians, we found that we must never turn our backs to the stories that define us. To honor the alumni and the school, we decided that this piece of African American history should be acknowledged, as it pertained to not only New Jersey history, but also to national history.”

-Defne Alpdogan, Baheen Huzan, Melissa Kim, Aine Pipe, and Waliya Rahman


Untold Stories: The Underground Railroad Museum
MTIS Artifact Site Visit

March 2, 2019
Museum Hours: 10AM - 4PM

Underground Railroad Museum 
803 Smithville Rd.
Eastampton, NJ 08060


The museum’s holdings offer a look at the role the Burlington County played in the freedom movement. Those include artifacts from slave plantations and those excavated in an archeological dig at Timbuctoo, a now defunct village in Westampton Twp. founded by free blacks and former slaves.  There is a collection pertaining to the Bordentown School showing numerous notable achievements of the former faculty and students as well as famous visitors as collected by John Medley, the unofficial historian of the school.


Untold Stories: Conversations with School No. 2 Alumni

March 16, 2019
12PM - 1:30PM

Mt. Zion AME Church 
36 E Burlington Street
Bordentown, NJ 08505


An afternoon of conversation with School #2 alumni about their experiences at School No. 2 and growing up in Bordentown.


Untold Stories:  Conversations with Bordentown
Manual Training & Industrial School Alumni

March 30, 2019
1PM - 3PM

Bordentown Twp. Senior Center
3 Municipal Drive
Bordentown, NJ 08505


Please join the Bordentown Historical Society and Building Bridges in welcoming the Bordentown School alumni, faculty, family and friends in an afternoon of conversation.  Learn from those who experienced it firsthand as they share their stories The afternoon will also feature Sheila Gregory Thomas, the granddaughter of James Monroe Gregory, the 2nd principal of the Bordentown School.  She will provide a snapshot of James Monroe Gregory's background of education and service — all of which led to his more than able leadership of the Bordentown School from 1897-1914.

Don't miss this great opportunity to meet former alumni and share in their memories!


Untold Stories:  Site Visit of the former Manual Training & Industrial School

April 13, 2019
12PM - 4PM

Johnstone Campus 
279 4th Street
Bordentown, NJ 08505


Visit the Bordentown Manual Training and Industrial School Monument with class of 1954 graduate John R. Medley. Dedicated in 2002, the monument sits at the edge of the grounds where, over several decades, dormitories, administration and assembly buildings, athletic and agriculture fields, educational and vocational trades facilities were constructed on the 400-acre campus.Students helped to run the school as part of their education.  They operated the school’s farms and orchards, prepared meals, ran printing presses, repaired and maintained buildings, operated mechanical systems, and carried out major landscaping and site work projects.  The curriculum included training in educational subjects and industrial and manual trades.

In June 1955, the Bordentown school closed, after the 1947 New Jersey Constitution made segregation in public education unlawful and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled racial segregation in school and other public facilities to be unlawful.  The state converted the school into the E.R. Johnstone Training Center for the developmentally disabled, which closed in the early 1990s. The campus is now a correctional facility operated by the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission.


Untold Stories: The Manual Training & Industrial School Legacy
With Mildred Rice Jordan

April 27, 2019
1PM - 3PM

Friends Meeting House
302 Farnsworth Avenue
Bordentown, NJ 08505


Dr. Mildred Rice Jordan, Granddaughter of Bordentown School Founder, Rev. A. S. Rice, will present an on the foundations of the institution and and overview from her book regarding the School's philosophy, policies and practices that can be a model, adapted for reclaiming African American students in the 21st century.


Untold Stories:  Banner Celebration & Reception

May 4, 2019
1PM - 3PM

Friends Meeting House
302 Farnsworth Avenue
Bordentown, NJ 08505

Unveiling of the new Historical Banners along Farnsworth Aveune in Bordentown.  More details to come!


History in Bloom:  Annual Garden Tour

Saturday, Juen 21, 2019 (Rain Date is Sunday, June 22nd)
12PM - 3PM

Tickets are $20 and will be sold online, on this website, and
Tickets are $20 and will be sold online, on this website, and in person (all to be announced soon).
12PM - 5PM
Friends Meeting House Museum
302 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown, NJ

The Bordentown Historical Society is hosting its Annual History In Bloom Garden Tour! A self-guided tour of private gardens, parks and historic sites throughout Bordentown City. Stroll through some of the beautiful "secret" gardens of Bordentown's private homes and parks. Enjoy the delicious eateries along Restaurant Row while partaking in the fresh air and sweet blooms! There is guaranteed to be surprises around every corner!

Ticket holders will receive special discounts offered by many of the local restaurants and shops in downtown Bordentown. Proceeds for this tour go towards the restoration and preservation of the Bordentown Historical Society Museum building and archived materials. Help us restore the building while enjoying a wonderful day outside seeing what otherwise might be hidden from public viewing! You might even take away a few ideas for your own "secret garden"!


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