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Posted Monday, October 1st, 2018

Morristown Library Show Tells History in Photographs, Articles, Speakers and Films 

A new historical display entitled The Ties that Bind: How Race Relations Shaped Morris County and New Jersey, 1688-2018 opens Wednesday at The F.M. Kirby Gallery in The Morristown & Morris Township Library. The public is invited to the opening reception at 7 p.m.

Story of Race Relations in Morris Illustrated in Historical Exhibition Opening Wednesday

Historic photo of Bethel Church of Morristown, courtesy of the collections of the North Jersey History Center, Morristown & Morris Township Library.

The show is part of the year-long celebration of Bethel Church of Morristown’s 175th anniversary. The exhibition incorporates photos, newspaper articles, books and quotes from oral history to illustrate the story. A suggested reading list and interactive component invite viewers to take action. Special programs with films and speakers are planned for Oct. 18 and Nov. 27.

New Jersey’s history includes enslavement of African Americans and existence of free black communities. Black and white residents either helped each other or stood in the way of equality and equity for all. At times, the fate of the black and white communities were “tied” to each other. The “ties that bind” us together as a community can be tight enough to encourage cooperation, or too tight, leading to conflict. Explore how these ties existed and changed over time in Morris County and New Jersey and consider how those ties manifest today.

The library is located at 1 Miller Road, Morristown. The exhibition opens Oct. 3 and runs through Jan. 5, 2019.

A film screening of “Radical Grace,” will take place at 7 p.m., Oct. 18. The 2016 documentary tells the story of three nuns challenging the patriarchal Vatican and risking their place in the church to fight for social justice. Betty Livingston Adams will speak about a key founder of Bethel, Frances Ray, putting her in the context of New Jersey in 1843 and examining her story to explore roles in the church. Adams is a scholar who earned her doctorate at Yale and her masters of divinity at Drew University.

A film screening of “A Time for Burning” will take place at 7 p.m., Nov. 27. The 1967 documentary is centered around a reverend’s idea to have the families of his all-white church have dinner in the homes of families of Hope Lutheran Church, a black congregation a little more than a mile away. Lillie Edwards will engage the audience in drawing parallels between what happened in Omaha in the film and in New Jersey/Morris County history and current events. Edwards is professor emerita at Drew University who earned her doctorate at University of Chicago.

The exhibition and programming is in collaboration with Bethel Church of Morristown; and is supposed by the Friends of Morristown & Morris Township Library and the Morris County Heritage Commission and New Jersey Council for the Humanities.