Tool chest, once owned by Lucy Harris-Jackson, a woman believed to have been the last enslaved African American in southern New Jersey Credit: African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey/Facebook photo

The African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey (AAHMSNJ) has been gifted a tool chest, once owned by Lucy Harris-Jackson, a woman believed to have been the last enslaved African American in southern New Jersey. The Atlantic City-based AAHMSNJ will display the tool chest in the exhibit “LUCY’s Chest—The Legacy of South Jersey’s Last Slave” through Sept. 12, 2022.

The museum has termed the tool chest “a major, historically significant donation from a descendent of the family with connections to those who enslaved Lucy Harris/Jackson. Keeta Kay Cole of Lititz, PA has gifted Lucy’s woodworking tool chest and more to the museum’s growing collection. Lucy was the last person formally designated by the U.S. Census as a slave in South Jersey, and her chest has been passed down through Cole’s family since Lucy’s death in 1875.”  

“This is one of the most historically significant contributions our museum has received,” said Ralph Hunter, AAHMSNJ founder and president. “We are extremely grateful to Keeta Kay and Robert Barnett for choosing our museum to preserve this extraordinary piece of South Jersey’s Black history.”

The AAHMSNJ owns more than 11,000 African American heritage treasures and showcases them on a rotating basis. It is located at Noyes Arts Garage, 2200 Fairmount Ave., Atlantic City, NJ 08401; phone: 609-350-6662; email: info@aahmsnj.org; website: https://www.aahmsnj.org/

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