The Bergen County Historical Society opens its annual free lecture series for 2012-2013 on Thursday evening, September 27, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. with Joseph G. Bilby speaking on his most recent work, Freedom To All, New Jersey's African-American Civil War Soldiers. The lecture program will be held in the Lecture Room of the beautiful Second Reformed Church, 436 Union Street (corner of Anderson and Union Streets), Hackensack, NJ 0760. There is no fee and the public is most welcome to attend.
Our speaker, Joseph G. Bilby, received his BA and MA degrees in history from Seton Hall University and served as a Lieutenant in the First Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1966-1967. He is retired from his position as Supervising Investigator for the New Jersey Department of Labor and is currently part time Assistant Curator of the New Jersey National Guard and Militia Museum in Sea Girt, New Jersey and a free lance writer and historical consultant. He is the author, editor or co-author of fifteen books and over 400 articles on New Jersey history and folklore, military history and outdoor subjects in both Internet and print venues, has lectured widely on those subjects and is a columnist for The Civil War News and New Jersey Sportsmen News, as well as publications editor for the official New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee. He is currently working on a military history of New Jersey.
By Mr. Bilby’s count, 3,271 African-Americans from New Jersey served in the armed forces of the United States between 1863 and 1865, with 2,909 serving in the army and 362 in the navy. These men did not serve in state-designated units, but in two Federally-organized United States Colored Cavalry and seventeen United States Colored Infantry (USCI) regiments. Trained in Philadelphia, they contributed significantly to Union victory in the siege of Petersburg and other battles in the final two years of the war. Afterwards, these veterans formed nine Grand Army of the Republic posts in New Jersey. One of their members, George Ashby, 45th USCI, who died in 1946, was New Jersey’s last surviving Civil War soldier. An epilogue chapter in the book details the role of black soldiers in the State’s military up through 1948, when Governor Alfred E. Driscoll, disregarding objections from the Department of Defense, desegregated the New Jersey National Guard.
Unless otherwise noted, the Bergen County Historical Society's lecture programs are held at 7:30 pm. in the Lecture Room at the Second Reformed Church, 436 Union Street (corner of Anderson and Union Streets), Hackensack, NJ 07601 on the third Thursday of the month. There is no fee and plenty of free parking in the church's parking lot, adjacent to the Lecture Room. Please enter through the door from the parking lot, go up one flight of stairs (no ramp), turn right and proceed down the long hall, the lecture room will be on your right.
Ask yourself—Just how valuable are the lessons of history? If you enjoy learning about Bergen County's remarkable past, then please consider joining the Bergen County Historical Society, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) volunteer organization, founded in 1902. We are dedicated to preserving important evidence of the past and promoting historical literacy through interesting programs and publications.
We are not a governmental agency and we don't receive public operating support or grants the way most other groups do---instead, we rely entirely upon private donations, membership dues and volunteer contributions of time and talent. We are presently trying to raise $350,000 to construct a first-rate historical museum building and library for Bergen County on the Society’s property at Historic New Bridge Landing, 1201 Main Street, River Edge, NJ 07661.
For further information or membership application, visit: http://www.bergencountyhistory.org