Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

February Presentation and Meeting: “Stories of Slavery in Monmouth County, NJ”

February 26 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Presenter:  Rick Geffken

Topic: “Stories of Slavery in Monmouth County, NJ”

In this talk, historian Rick Geffken presents the history of slavery in Monmouth County and our local area.  According to Rick:

Slavery was “baked into” New Jersey from its very beginnings. In the 1664-65 Concession and Agreement of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of New Caesarea, or New Jersey, Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret granted prospective colonists 75 acres of land “for every weaker servant, or slave, male or female, exceeding the age of fourteen years, which any one shall send or carry, arriving there.” Meant to jump start a new agricultural community, this provision of one of New Jersey’s founding documents nonetheless made chattel slavery foundational.  The first enslaved people in Monmouth County arrived from Barbados in 1675 to labor on Lewis Morris’s Tinton Falls plantation.


About Rick: 

Rick Geffken has authored numerous articles on New Jersey history for local newspapers, magazines, historical societies, and newsletters. He has presented historical papers at the New Jersey History & Historic Preservation. He has participated in symposia for groups as varied as the New Jersey Education Association, the New Jersey Library Association, the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) and the Navesink Maritime Historical Association. He has appeared on the New Jersey Cable TV show, Family Historian.

Rick’s books include The Story of Shrewsbury Revisited, 1965-2015; Lost Amusement Parks of the North Jersey Shore; Hidden History of Monmouth County; To Preserve & Protect, profiles of people who recorded the history and heritage of Monmouth County, New Jersey; and Stories of Slavery in New Jersey.

Rick has spoken at dozens of historical societies and libraries about a wide variety of New Jersey historical topics, such as Amazing New Jersey; Lost Amusement Parks; the Morris Family of NJ; the Munsee/Lenape People of Monmouth County; Quakers & Slavery in NJ; NJ’s Submarine Inventors; William Penn; and more. He was a featured speaker at the New Jersey State Library, the Trent House Museum, the Quaker Meeting of Shrewsbury, the Battleground Historical Society, and other organizations. He presented programs for the award-winning Let’s Talk about Race for the Red Bank Library, and Historically Speaking for the Monmouth County Historical Association.

He is a Trustee of the Shrewsbury Historical Society; a Board member of Truehart Productions (film company); a project advisor for the Board of the Asbury Park Museum; a Trustee and founding member of the Friends of Cedar View; Past-president and Trustee of the Jersey Coast Heritage Museum at Sandlass House; an advisor for the Tinton Falls Historic Preservation Commission; and advisor to the Monmouth County Historical Association.

Rick taught classes on New Jersey enslavement for Monmouth University and Brookdale Community College. He is part of a project called the New Jersey Slavery Records Index under the auspices of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. He joined the New Jersey Social Justice Reconciliation Committee which placed a memorial plaque in Eatontown, the 1886 site of the only recorded lynching of a Black man in New Jersey. He successfully petitioned Middletown Township to erect a commemorative plaque at the historic Cedar View Cemetery, resting place for formerly enslaved and Black Civil War veterans.

In 2023, Rick was twice recognized for historical contributions. The Monmouth County Historical Association gave him an award for outstanding service to Monmouth County history. He was also honored at the Monmouth County Clerk’s Archives and History Day event with the presentation of the Jane G. Clayton Award, given to an individual who made a major contribution to the preservation and knowledge of Monmouth County history.

Rick retired from a career with Hewlett-Packard; owned and operated several small businesses; taught secondary school mathematics; and was an Adjunct Professor at Ocean County Community. A retired U.S. Army officer and decorated Viet Nam veteran, he holds a BS in Economics from St. Peter’s University, a Secondary Teaching Certificate from Monmouth University, and an MA in Social Sciences from Montclair State University.

This is a free event and all are welcome to attend.


February 26
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Matawan Historical Society
View Organizer Website


Matawan Borough Hall
201 Broad Street
Matawan, NJ 07747 United States
+ Google Map