Traces of the Trade: A Story From the Deep North
A film by Katrina Browne
The Riverfront Historical Society and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church continue their collaboration with their eighth annual commemoration of Juneteenth. This year’s program will include a film screening of the Sundance Film Festival and Emmy-nominated, PBS documentary film Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, followed by an audience discussion moderated by Elizabeth Sturges Llerena and The Reverend Jayne J. Oasin. The program, scheduled for Saturday, June 17th, from 1-3 PM at St. Stephen’s Church, 158 Warren Street, Beverly, is free and open to the public.
“Traces of the Trade documents how filmmaker Katrina Browne made a troubling discovery—her New England ancestors, The DeWolfs, were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. The DeWolfs conducted the trade over three generations, beginning in 1769, and well after it had been banned in the United States in 1808. The DeWolf family brought over 10,000 African slaves to the Americas. Up to half a million of these Africans’ descendants are alive today. Katrina Browne and nine fellow descendants set off to retrace the Triangle Trade: from their old hometown in Rhode Island to slave forts in Ghana to sugar plantation ruins in Cuba. Step by step, they uncover the vast extent of Northern complicity in slavery while also stumbling through the minefield of contemporary race relations. Traces of the Trade offers powerful new perspectives on the black/white divide….The issues the DeWolf descendants are confronted with dramatize questions that apply to the nation as a whole: What, concretely, is the legacy of slavery—for diverse whites, for diverse blacks, for diverse others? Who owes whom what for the sins of the fathers of this country? What history do we inherit as individuals and as citizens? How does Northern complicity change the equation? What would repair -spiritual and material – look like and what would it take?”
Riverside Park is one of Delran’s oldest neighborhoods. Diane Dudek, Delran Historical Society Trustee shared this photo likely taken in the 1930’s at the corner of Stewart Avenue and Roland Street. The Riverside Park neighborhood had brick pylons with neighborhood street signs. Today only 2 two of these classy street signs remain. They are located at North Chester and Frederick Street and North Chester and Roland Avenue. Do you know who installed these brick pylons and when? Were pylons located on every corner? If so, what happened to them? What else can you tell us about the history of Riverside Park?
Delran Historical Society Member Dee Wells is searching for photographs of Delran Mayors since our beginnings in 1880. There are still 10 mayors we have not yet located a photograph, including Abram Conrow who served as our mayor from 1890 to 1893. We have documented Abram Conrow to preserve his memory before it is erased much like his grave marker located in Westfield Friends Cemetery in Cinnaminson.
The Delran Historical Society received a History Recognition Award from Burlington County at the Smithville Mansion on May 12, 2017. We were recognized for our effort to create a Historical Marker Trail in Delran. This was a group accomplishment. Elaine McCabe and Diane Dudek researched the background on each of the sites, Elaine McCabe and Mal Anderson worked with residents to secure approvals for the sign installations, Delran Township paid for the signs to be printed at the New Jersey Department of Corrections, and Delran Public Works installed the signs. Deb Hammond posted the information on each site on our website and created QR codes for a bookmark that would directly link to our website and the additional content and photographs of each site. We celebrated the opening of our Historical Marker Trail on October 24, 2017 with the big unveiling at the Trinity Church on Route 130.
We have also added our markers to the Historical Marker Database, which includes links to our website as well as other nearby historic sites. We are planning to add an additional 10 sites in 2017.