The Still Standing Project with Scribe Video Center
Production Facilitator - Iain Conliffe; Humanities Consultant - Biko Agonzino; Post Production - Brain Cook
This video is available for purchase as part of a Precious Places Community History Project Vol.1 compilation DVD.
Before artist and community historian Beverly Collins-Roberts set to work researching the topic, few living people knew that Pomona Hall in Camden, New Jersey, now the headquarters of the Camden Historical Society, had been the "big house" of an 18th century slave plantation. Owned by Marmaduke Cooper, Camden's founder, the plantation spanned 400 acres and covered much of what is now the Parkside neighborhood of Camden. Unhushed! portrays a "purification ceremony" in the house's attic quarters performed by community educators, activists and musicians to free the spirits of 14 enslaved Africans who worked on the plantation. After smudging the house with incense, five women dressed in white slowly ascend creaking stairs into the attic, followed by men playing long hollow instruments called vaccines: members of the local Black Beans traditional music group. Then the ceremony commences. Beverly Collins-Roberts believes that meaningful acknowledgement of the institution of slavery is a necessary step in the process of allowing healing to begin for all people. "This is America's story. You can't talk about America without talking about slavery."