Bound by Family and Faith: The Story of the Allen A.M.E. Church

When two or more African-American women are gathered together in Cape May, they almost immediately start talking about their cousins. In fact, they probably are cousins. They might be second cousins twice removed, or first cousins on their grandmothers’ side, or they might actually be aunts and nieces. But they will be talking about cousins,…

Freedom’s Corner

In the tense years before the Civil War, when heated debates about slavery resonated in the halls of Congress, when churches increasingly denounced its evils, when free blacks were beaten in northern cities, when thousands of courageous, determined people managed to free themselves and escape north, Cape May was deeply embroiled in this struggle for freedom.

A Prompt for Restoration

A year ago, Ron Goldstein, then president of Cape May’s Chamber of Commerce, knew little about Stephen Smith and the summer home he built on Lafayette Street in 1846. And whenever Goldstein passed it on his way downtown, he could barely see the building behind the shrubs and trees that obscured it. But last year…

Stephen Smith: Cape May’s Underground Railroad Leader

You’ve probably walked past the unimposing pale yellow house at 645 Lafayette Street many times, and perhaps you read the historical marker out front—the one saying that Stephen Smith was a businessman, philanthropist, abolitionist and founder of Cape May’s AME Church. But what you didn’t know is that Smith, who spent many summers in Cape…

To Worship & Preserve

“In August of 1892, the religious society and congregation of Colored Baptist[s] living in the City of Cape May met for the purpose of organizing a Colored Baptist Church. These assemblies of believers were recognized by the West New Jersey Association, and on Dec. 23, 1895, the Macedonia Baptist Church was duly named, certified and…

Harriet Tubman’s Cape May Connection

The Treasury Department’s recent announcement that freedom fighter Harriet Tubman will replace President and slaveholder Andrew Jackson on the face of the $20 bill finally acknowledges Tubman’s place in the pantheon of American heroes. Most school children learn that Tubman, born a slave, freed herself and then risked her life time and again to return…