Belleville Historical Society restoring abolitionist’s monument

In commemoration of Black History Month, the Belleville Historical Society is restoring the monument of New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Hornblower at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Newark.

Hornblower was from Belleville and in 1836 ruled that the Fugitive Slave Act, a federal law which required that runaway slaves be returned to their owners, violated the New Jersey Constitution. Hornblower opposed slavery at a time when most in New Jersey favored the South.

New Jersey voted against Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election and voted against him again in 1864. In March of 1965 New Jersey voted against ratifying the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which outlawed slavery. New Jersey was the last northern state to free the slaves. Even after the last slaves had been freed in the South in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 (Juneteenth), slavery continued in New Jersey. Slavery finally ended in New Jersey in December 1865 when two thirds of the other states had ratified the 13th Amendment.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.