Friday, June 24, 2022

New Jersey Social Justice Remembrance Coalition lists host sites for traveling exhibit of soil collected from site where Samuel "Mingo Jack" Johnson was lynched


The New Jersey Social Justice Remembrance Coalition (NJSJRC) has announced new locations for June, where the soil collected from the site of the only recorded lynching in New Jersey, of Samuel “Mingo Jack” Johnson, in Eatontown, will be exhibited.

  • Long Branch Public Library
  • T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, Red Bank
  • United Methodist Church of Red Bank
  • University Hospital, Newark
  • Red Bank Public Library
  • Eatontown Public Library
  • Monmouth County Library, Manalapan

The vessel housed at the Historic T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, in time for Juneteenth, will be on display there permanently, while other vessels will travel throughout the state. Monmouth County Eastern Branch Library, in Shrewsbury, also has a display of the soil.

In partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama, the NJSJRC asks viewers to join in bearing witness to this personal and community tragedy, and to reflect on actions we can take today to end the ongoing legacy of racial violence and inequality.

The Community Remembrance Collection Project gathers soil at lynching sites to display in exhibits bearing the victims’ names. The NJSJRC held a soil collection ceremony last October that attracted a large outpouring of community members from all sectors. The NJSJRC is linked with partnering communities nationwide to document and memorialize sites of enslavement, racial terror lynching, and segregation, for the purpose of fostering meaningful dialogue about race and justice today.

Johnson was an African American resident of Eatontown, who was murdered on March 5, 1886, after being arrested on unsubstantiated charges of raping a white woman. He was dragged by a local mob from his cell and brutally beaten and hanged to death. This was the only known lynching in New Jersey.

The soil display entitled “Bearing Witness” is a powerful anchor for public or community programming. We welcome proposals from partners for talks, film screenings, civic discussions, and other events. We are pleased to offer talks presented by speakers from the NJSJRC and will work with you to book a talk that fits your schedule. In addition, a documentary film about the work of the New Jersey Social Justice Remembrance Coalition and the legacy of Samuel Johnson is in production. Trailers and short excerpts may be available for screening.

“Bearing Witness” is a table-top display with an engraved soil jar, accompanied with literature and handouts. The coalition is currently in the process of creating interpretive panels and other complimentary materials. The exhibit is at no cost to the host organization. To become a site location for “Bearing Witness” you can inquire at

The NJSJRC is an interfaith, multi-ethnic group of individuals and organizations throughout the state who have come together to ensure that the residents of New Jersey are aware of historical incidents of racial bias. Learn more by going to

The Equal Justice Initiative website offers many useful and free resources, including lesson plans, films, oral histories, and informative articles.