About the Organization
"A community engaged in a broader understanding of American history."
The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum
was born out of decades’ worth of research conducted
by two of its advisory board members, Beverly Mills and
Elaine Buck. Both women serve on the Stoutsburg
Cemetery Association board and their research began
as a quest to establish Stoutsburg as the official burial
place for Private William Stives, a Revolutionary War
veteran and one of the first African American settlers
in the Sourland Region.
Story after story came to light about the early African
American settlers of this region, some of whom were
their ancestors. Mills and Buck began to understand the
magnitude of what they had begun, and it became clear
that these stories and this powerful history needed to
The two decided to co-author a book, If These Stones Could Talk. The book aims to provide a clearer understanding of the African American experience and their accomplishments in Hopewell Valley (and surrounding area). Hopefully, it will be used as an addendum to the little known, missing black history facts left out of our family histories, our textbooks and libraries. The goal is to engage readers - and educate students - not only in New Jersey but also across America and beyond.
In support of the book Mills and Buck began scheduling appearances throughout the state. They were hired to lecture in 2014 by The Sourland Conservancy as part of their Train Station Series at the historic Hopewell Borough Train Station. That lecture, entitled "A Proud Heritage", sparked a series of conversations that would lead to a partnership between the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association and the Sourland Conservancy. The product of that union was the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum.
SSAAM founders Beverly Mills, Elaine Buck, & John Buck
The mission of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum is to tell the story of the unique culture, experiences, and contributions of the African American community of the Sourland Mountain Region.