Burlington County will host a volunteer cleanup at the site of one of our County’s most important and celebrated Black American historical figures this month on the eve of Juneteenth.
The cleanup will be held from 10 AM to noon on June 18 at the Dr. James Still Historic Office and Education Center, 211 Church Road, Medford, and will mark the first service project undertaken in honor of the important holiday.
“Burlington County has a long history of being at the forefront in the fight for equality. In fact, our county was once known as the ‘Cradle of Emancipation’ because of the influence of the many abolitionist leaders from the county and the numbers stops on the Underground Railroad that were located here,” said Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “Our Board is extraordinarily proud of that legacy and we’re doing our part to draw more attention to it, even as we continue to work to achieve a real and lasting equality for all.”
“Performing a service on the day before Juneteenth at the education center dedicated to the life and legacy of one of our county’s most important historical figures is another way we can recognize the contributions of Black Americans to our nation’s history,” Hopson added.
Dr. Still was born in 1812 in Shamong and was the son of two former slaves. He was largely self-educated but would become one of the wealthiest landowners in Burlington County and became known as the “Black Doctor of the Pines” because of his successful medical practice featuring natural herbal remedies. He treated hundreds of patients, curing some, it was said that licensed doctors could not heal.
The Education Center in Medford is the preserved site of Dr. Still’s medical office. It was purchased by the State of New Jersey in 2006 with the intention of restoring it to how it appeared in the 1800s when Dr. Still operate his medical practice. It was the first African-American historic site purchased with New Jersey Green Acres funding.
The education center dedicated to Dr. Still’s life was created in 2013 at the Bunning Farm, which sites to the east of the Still property. In 2017, the Dr. James Still Nature Walk was created on the farm by a group of Boy Scouts so that visitors could explore nature as Dr. Still did. The center has also recently acquired a new building to house its public exhibits.
The trail and the center’s new building will be the focus of the June 18 cleanup and we encourage residents to volunteer. Residents interested in volunteering should contact firstname.lastname@example.org