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Explore Our Heritage Sites

SSAAM is located at the Mt. Zion AME Church and historic True Farmstead in Skillman, New Jersey—sites that have been home to African Americans in the Sourlands for generations.

Open Hours Schedule:

July 24 (Wednesday), 10 AM - 1 PM

Aug 10 (Saturday), 10 AM - 1 PM

Aug 28 (Wednesday), 10 AM - 1 PM

The Church

The Mt. Zion AME Church was organized in the mid-19th century by African Americans descended from free and enslaved people who lived in the Sourland Mountain Region. Originally located in Zion (currently the corner of Spring Hill and Zion-Wertsville roads), the church served local residents who worked as farm laborers and domestic servants as well as in the region’s quarries and numerous peach orchards.


In the late 19th century, a peach blight swept through the region, greatly affecting the agricultural industry. Much of the Black community on Sourland Mountain was forced to relocate to find work, and the church’s location became inconvenient. In 1899, the church was moved to its current location on Hollow Road on land donated by Spencer and Corinda True. Mt. Zion AME Church actively served an African American congregation until 2005

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The Farmstead

The historic True Farmstead is a five-acre farm adjacent to Mt. Zion AME Church and originally owned by Black Union Army veteran William Reasoner and his wife Corinda. After William died, Corinda married Spencer True, a descendant of Friday Truehart. Friday Truehart was brought to New Jersey from South Carolina in 1780 as an enslaved 13-year-old boy. After gaining his freedom in 1802, he became one of the Sourland Mountain Region’s first African American land-owners. 


The True Farmstead continued to be owned and farmed by generations of the True family until 1994, when it was sold out of family hands. In 2022, SSAAM and the Sourland Conservancy partnered to purchase and save the True Farmstead, bringing the story full circle.

The Heritage Garden

SSAAM is committed to enhancing its heritage garden at the True Farmstead and converting the farmhouse into a dynamic exhibition and education space. Upcoming initiatives include hiring consultants on local African American history, heritage gardening, and Black culinary traditions. Additionally, plans involve creating educational materials for both general visitors and school outreach.

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