2014 New Jersey Forum
November 21 – 22, 2014
Kean University, Union, NJ
With its significant Native American heritage; complex colonial history; ethnically diverse people; religious tolerance; contributions to technology; and, political, racial,
and social tension, the history of New Jersey mirrors the development of a nation. The 2014 New Jersey Forum is part of a year-long celebration that will highlight the Garden State’s characteristics
of liberty, diversity, and innovation.
This year’s Forum will feature nationally celebrated author and public historian Spencer Crew; Neil Maher, author of Nature's New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps
and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement; and John Fea author of The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America.
The conference will also offer roundtable discussions on the state of African American history, careers in public history, under-utilized archival resources, and several
panel sessions revealing new research on New Jersey's history.
Robinson Professor of American, African American, and Public History, George Mason University. Crew will focus on New Jersey activists and the attainment of American citizenship rights.
Crew will present The Rugged Road to Citizenship: New Jersey's Response to Newcomers from the
American Revolution to the Present.
Chair and Associate Professor of History, Messiah College. Fea will discuss New Jersey and the American Revolution.
Associate Professor and Graduate History Coordinator of the Concentration in History of Technology, Environment, and Medicine,
Rutgers University, New Jersey Institute of Technology. Maher will present Spaceship Earth: The Civil Rights Movement and NASA’s War on Poverty.
Maher’s talk is part of his next book project, which examines the relationship between the space race and the more grassroots political and social struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, including those of the anti-Vietnam War, environmental, women’s, and countercultural movements. “Spaceship Earth: The Civil Rights Movement and NASA’s War on Poverty” will examine a similar interplay between the space race and the struggle for racial equality. Maher will begin by discussing early opposition to NASA during the 1960s by civil rights activists, who argued that the space race was siphoning financial resources from a host of racial problems affecting urban areas in particular. He will then describe how NASA responded to such criticism by waging its own “War on Poverty," which in 1972 included the creation of a special “Urban Systems Project Office” that spun off various space technologies to the American public in an effort to solve these same city problems. One such venture involved NASA teaming up with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to transfer energy-efficient space capsule technology developed for its Apollo program to urban housing projects located in New Jersey. Maher’s talk thus focuses on the ways in which the space race shaped civil rights, in both the United States and across the Garden State.
2014 New Jersey Forum Conference
The conference is free but registration is required. As a state agency the New Jersey Historical Commission is unable to pay for guest meals. There will be a $25 charge to
purchase breakfast and lunch on the 22nd if you wish. Please indicate if you will purchase your breakfast and lunch on the registration form. The reception on the 21st is free and sponsored by
Exhibit Space will be available but it is at a premium. We can only accommodate thirty, six-foot tables. Tables will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. You may request an exhibit
table by completing the registration form.
Kean University is located at 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ 07083. The conference will be offered in the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics (NJCSTM) Building. Parking will be available in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Lot.
KEAN University Campus Map
The Forum is presented by the New Jersey Historical Commission in partnership with The New Jersey State Archives, New Jersey State Museum and Kean University, and with partial funding from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
(Liberty) Washington at the Delaware, Edward Hicks, ca. 1849, The Athenaeum; Alice Paul, LoC, LC-USZ62-20176; (Diversity) Paul Robeson, Julius Lazarus Archives, Special Collections and University Archives, © Rutgers University Libraries; Seabrook Farms, Japanese internee during WW II, NJ State Archives;
Ellis Island photomechanical print, LoC, LC-DIG-ds-03648; (Innovation) Thomas Edison, LoC, LC-USZ62-105139; Ketchup, NJ State Archives; Hot Air Balloon print, LoC, PPM SCA-03478.