Humanity is prone to the unfortunate habit of forgetting, avoiding and altogether rewriting history, particularly when it falls into uncomfortable territory. Yet history offers clarity for the present and allows us to plot a course for the future — and it does so with even greater force when that history is painful. If These Stones Could Talk has collected an important and often forgotten history of central New Jersey, preserving it permanently so that everyone can understand the diverse tapestry of our past.

It’s easy to overlook the value of a place until presented with a need to recognize it. Here, the authors have sifted through family trees, maps, legal records, and all the memories of the past to present us with the undeniable value of this region to African American history through the threads that connect it to the most impactful events in our national conscience, from the Revolutionary War to the civil rights movement.

Bonnie Watson Coleman, Congresswoman for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District