GRANT-MATCHING OPPORTUNITY: Can you help? With a grant-matching challenge from The Bunbury Fund at the Princeton Area Community Foundation, Beverly and Elaine have a finite timeline to raise $35,000 to complete their research and writing in a formally published book as well as digital assets. Read on for more information about our exciting project and ways you can help us rewrite New Jersey's history! New Jersey Residents Elaine Buck and Beverly Mills Collect Decades of Research, Oral Histories, Land Deeds, Church Records, and Preserved Cemetery Plots Tracing the Legacy of Slavery in Small Town USA Heres more information on how you can support their work. Recently featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, authors Beverly Mills and Elaine Buck are known for their pioneering work unveiling unknown stories about slavery and the too-often-ignored African American history and presence in a small American town. As they began formal collaboration into researching the lives of their African American ancestors over ten years ago, Beverly and Elaine knew they had a hugely important story to tell when they learned that most of their ancestors were likely to have been brought up the Delaware River as slaves to what is now the Hopewell Valley region in Central New Jersey. Part of Millss and Bucks mission was to vocalize not just the hardships and stark realities that so many blacks had faced as slaves and then apprentices in the State of New Jersey, but also to underline the thriving communities, loyal soldiers and wounded veterans, committed churches, and very real economic contributions of their ancestors that, without their efforts, were likely to be forgotten in local history accounts. Active community members, Mills and Buck both serve on the board of the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association, a burial ground for African American residents and veterans in the region. In April of 2006, Mills and Buck received a panicked call to help prevent construction plans that would have destroyed another sacred historic black burial ground in the region. That call and their subsequent struggles to preserve the site both galvanized and energized their plans and efforts to chronicle the lives of their ancestors in print and digital form. For both authors, a fire was lit, and in the following years they gathered boxes of research, sat for hours with local elders, obtained property deeds, and dug into church records and runaway slave notices from the eighteenth century. Their passion for their current project had its seeds in their childhoods, when as girls, they searched for an understanding of their identity in school. There they usually felt horrified at textbook historical accounts that whitewashed the reality of slavery in New Jersey or portrayed happy servants at the beck and call of white households. Through many years of research, examination of records, and collecting verbal testimonies, Mills and Buck are writing a book with the editorial consultation and expertise of Wild River Consulting & Publishing, based out of Princeton, New Jersey. If These Stones Could Talk aims to provide a clearer understanding of the African American experience and accomplishments in Hopewell Valley (and the surrounding area) to be used as an addendum to the little-known missing black history facts left out of our family histories, our textbooks, and our libraries. The goal is to engage readers and educate students, not only in New Jersey but also across America and beyond. Funding is urgently needed in order for Beverly and Elaine to tell the whole story about the many contributions and accomplishments of the black community in small town central New Jersey.