Tool chest of South Jersey’s last enslaved African American on display

The African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey (AAHMSNJ) has received a tool chest, which once belonged to Lucy Harris-Jackson, a woman believed to be the last African American slave in Southern New Jersey. The Atlantic City-based AAHMSNJ will feature the tool chest in the “LUCY’s Chest – The Legacy of South Jersey’s Last Slave” exhibit until September 12, 2022.

The museum called the toolbox “a major and historically significant gift from a family scion with ties to those who enslaved Lucy Harris/Jackson.” Keeta Kay Cole of Lititz, PA donated Lucy’s woodworking toolbox and more to the museum’s growing collection. Lucy was the last person officially listed by the U.S. Census as a slave in South Jersey, and her chest has been passed down to Cole’s family since Lucy’s death in 1875.”

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

The AAHMSNJ has more than 11,000 treasures of African-American heritage and showcases them in turn. It is located at Noyes Arts Garage, 2200 Fairmount Ave., Atlantic City, NJ 08401; phone: 609-350-6662; email: [email protected]; website: https://www.aahmsnj.org/

Geraldine D. Luckett