Dispute Over Cape May Landmark Accidentally Uncovers Rare, Authentic Black History

Most of what is now taught as “Black History” is distorted fake history.  It is invented to promote the hate-America socialist agenda of today’s “Democratic” Party.  Last week, news of a dispute over a Cape May Point, NJ landmark uncovered some important facts about authentic “Black History” that is rarely taught today.

Since 1909, the Sisters of Saint Joseph maintained a Retreat House by the beach in Cape May Point.  It closed last year because of coronavirus restrictions.  Last month, the Sisters announced plans to demolish the building.  Apparently, the Sisters will keep the tax-exempt status of their prime beachfront property by calling it “Open Space” to “preserve the environment”.  Click here for full story:  St. Joseph Sisters’ retreat in Cape May Point to close permanently – Catholic Philly

Local historian Robert E. Mullock claims the building has important ties to  “Black History” and should be preserved.

According to Mullock, the property was used in the “Underground Railroad” before the Civil War.  That was a well-organized national network of whites and blacks who helped thousands of black slaves escape north to freedom.

“Conductors” of this “railroad” helped runaway slaves from Delaware row across the bay to the site of what is now the Saint Joseph Retreat House.  They were guided by the Cape May Point lighthouse which still stands.  At that time, the Retreat House property was part of a farm owned by the Whilldin family.  The Whilldin’s then hid the escaped slaves until they could be safely taken further north to freedom – often to Canada.

Although today’s “Black History” teaches much about the Underground Railroad, it leaves out important details.  It fails to mention that most “conductors” of that “railroad” were Quakers and other white Christians guided by the Bible.  It also fails to mention that “fugitive slave laws” severely punished anyone caught helping runaway slaves.

However, the most overlooked detail is how the Underground Railroad was part of an effective twenty year campaign by white Christians to end slavery in America long before the Civil War.  These “abolitionists” effectively stopped slavery from expanding into Kansas, Nebraska and California.  Their “Underground Railroad” severely damaged slave economies in the Border States of  Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri.  These two assaults on slavery provoked eleven of the fifteen southern slave states to leave the United States and start the Civil War when anti-slave Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.

Respected historian Stanley Harrold described this in his 2010 book “Border War”.  Google Book publishes this synopsis:

“During the 1840s and 1850s, a dangerous ferment afflicted the North-South border region, pitting the slave states of Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri against the free states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Aspects of this struggle–the underground railroad, enforcement of the fugitive slave laws, mob actions, and sectional politics–are well known as parts of other stories. Here, Stanley Harrold explores the border struggle itself, the dramatic incidents that comprised it, and its role in the complex dynamics leading to the Civil War”.

Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri were called “Border States” because they permitted slavery, but did not leave the Union to join the Confederate States during the Civil War.  The “Underground Railroad” weakened the slave economies in those states because slaves were then valuable property.  Each healthy slave sold for $400 to $600 between 1840 and 1860.  That was $40,000 to $60,000 in today’s dollars. Many slave owners bought their slaves on credit and insured them.  When the “Underground Railroad” helped thousands of slaves escape from the “Border States”, owners, banks, and insurance companies there lost what today would be hundreds of millions of dollars.

Today’s “politically correct” “Black History” leaves out these important facts about the Underground Railroad for several reasons.  They don’t want young people to know that Bible based white Christians ended slavery in America, that the Civil War was fought to end slavery, and that roughly 310,000 white Americans died in that Civil War to end slavery.

A second important historical fact that came out of the St. Joseph’s Retreat news story was the remarkable story of Stephen Smith.  Smith was the African-American son of a slave who bought his freedom and who owned a railroad and several successful coal and lumber firms in the years before the Civil War.  Smith was also an important leader of the “Underground Railroad” and anti-slavery campaign during the years before the Civil War.  Smith, together with William Still, another leading abolitionist, bought the Saint Joseph Retreat Property.   Later, the Shoreham Hotel was built on the site, where it was owned and operated by an organization known as the “Home for the Aged and Infirm Colored Persons”.  The success of black Americans like Stephen Smith who left the Jim Crow South is rarely mentioned in today’s “Black History”.

George H. White built the town of Whitesboro in Middle Township, Cape May County, New Jersey in 1902.  This was part of his work in helping thousands of blacks from the South move to freedom, safety, and opportunity in the North when racist, white Democrats used violence, including murder, to impose their one-party, total political control of the South.  Historians call this “The Great Migration”.

Other successful African-Americans in South Jersey whose stories are neglected include George H. White who founded Whitesboro in Cape May County in 1902, John McKee, who built McKee City in Egg Harbor Township near Atlantic City in the 1880’s, and Sara Spencer Washington who built a multi-million dollar cosmetics and media business in Atlantic City in the 1920’s.

John McKee, a free black man began working as a waiter in Philadelphia restaurants. He saved what he earned to buy land and build houses.  Later he built businesses and lumber yards.  He became a multimillionaire and built the town of McKee City in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.  He urged other blacks to do what he did saying that investing in land was safer than putting money in banks.

Sara Spencer Washington opened a hair salon on Baltic Avenue in Atlantic City in 1913.  When she could not find beauty products suitable for African-American hair and skin, she took chemistry courses at Columbia University and developed her own products.  She soon marketed her products throughout the country and became a multimillionaire.  She used her wealth to promote equal rights for blacks.  When blacks were denied access to golf courses, she built one for blacks in Pomona.  When judges refused to give prizes to the best-dressed blacks during the Boardwalk Easter Parade, Sara Spencer Washington gave out better cash prizes.

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2 thoughts on “Dispute Over Cape May Landmark Accidentally Uncovers Rare, Authentic Black History”

  1. Rosemarie Martelli

    Very interesting. I know the building well. Cape May Point is a favorite spot to visit in summer.

  2. Wow! I just learned so much about authentic NJ black history reading your piece. I wonder if any of these facts are taught in our NJ public schools? Thank you Mr Grossman for sharing the stories of liberty and prosperity achieved by these NJ black Americans.

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