Join The Gist of Freedom Live on Location with host, Shellie Gaines at the 143rd Still family reuinon~historical Lawnside, NJ.The Stills, Underground Railroad's First Family!
By the early 1800s, the Still family was firmly established in southern New Jersey, particularly in the area that became Lawnside, a hamlet neighboring Haddonfield. Lawnside was incorporated in 1926; it is believed to be the first self-governing, overwhelmingly African-American town in the North. It remains 94 percent African-American and full of Stills—perhaps as many as 100 members of the extended family. Every August, Clarence hosts the Still family reunion at his place, This summer marked the 143rd Still reunion—a daylong barbecue, church service, and gospel-fest for several hundred Stills from as far away as Arizona. William Still the youngest of Charity and Levin Still's eighteen children was the Black abolitionist from Philadelphia who was described by the New York Times as "William Still - known as the Father of the Underground Railroad" - He literally wrote the book, The Underground Railroad. His drive to see the vindication of the human spirit continued past the end of the Civil War and into the antebellum period when he fought Jim Crow. Still’s story makes a full circle journey through poverty to prosperity, ending at philanthropy (just one of Justice’s tools).
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