Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Kean University
Website URL
slavery, freedom, liberty, murder of slaves, slave rebellion, American Revolution, Human Rights, Liberty for all, Quaker Abolitionists, Thomas Jefferson, race relations, freedom
Additional Contact Information
can comment based on research on the record

Personal Info

About Me

I like uncomfortable questions that “force” discussion and hopefully redirect biases to new ideas based on evidence.

Presently,  teaching and researching for the past thirteen years as a historian interested in slavery, freedom, liberty, and unfreedom in New Jersey and nationally.  I have been honored to be designated a Public Scholar by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, and have been presenting the story of a murdered enslaved woman in New Jersey, in 1784.  Betty, is referred to as “Wench Betty” in court documents by witnesses of her beating and then killing by her slave owner.  What I find is that in the North, in some population groups, there is a reluctance to discuss slavery in the Garden State.  I also find individuals who are shocked there was slavery in NJ, and others still who seek to justify the slavery of African Americans either due to family ownership or it was “necessary” to the British and American economies.  Others are vocal in condemning slavery in any historical moment, including the present.  Thanks to colleagues in the field I am published and have spoken at numerous academic conferences regionally, nationally, and in Europe.  My hope is to turn a soon-to-be published talk into a small monograph, and I will be a fellow with the International Center for Jefferson Studies focusing on the Quakers that worked for/with Jefferson at his slave plantations or in Virginia.

Recent Publications


2020            FORTHCOMING AUGUST 2020 – “Why Wench Betty’s Story Matters:  The Murder of an Enslaved Woman in 1784,”     Invited Talk, Summer 2020,        NJS:  An Interdisciplinary Series,  editor Melissa Ziobro                                                    

2020             “Turn the Page and Other Surprises from the Thomas Jefferson Papers”,  Blog published by the American Philosophical Society, January 3, 2020,

2019           “Thomas Jefferson and his Complicated Quaker Friends”  part of a Springer Series Book, Quakers, Business, and Corporate Responsibility, editors Dr. Nic Burton and Richard Turnbull

2017           Kozel Co-Edited book one of nine books highlighted in “Bookmarks”, Kean University magazine, Kean Magazine, Spring 2017, Page 36.

2017             Kozel Co-Edited book published in Paperback by Routledge, Taylor and Francis.

2015             Co-Editor with Maurice Jackson (Georgetown University), book published in August 2015. Quakers and Their Allies in      the Abolitionist Cause, 1754-1808. My chapter focuses on New Jersey Quaker Richard Waln and his abolitionist activities on behalf of enslaved Blacks in New Jersey.

Media Coverage
Various NJ publications
Country Focus
United States and Atlantic World
Expertise by Geography
Atlantic, United States
Expertise by Chronology
3, 4, 5
Expertise by Topic
American Revolution, American Founding Era, Human Rights, Race, Rebellion & Revolution, Slavery