Beverly Mills and Elaine Buck with some of the research materials amassed for their book.

In recognition of Black History Month, the New Jersey State Library will host Elaine Buck and Beverly Mills, authors of  If These Stones Could Talk: African American presence in the Hopewell Valley, Sourland Mountain, and surrounding regions of New Jersey.

The author talk will be held Tuesday, Feb. 19 from noon to 1 p.m. in the library’s second floor meeting room.

Cemeteries have stories to tell and the authors found many stories behind the headstones in the Stoutsburg Cemetery, which is in the Sourland Mountain region. Offering a unique window into our past, the stories they will tell consecrate the collected lives of a minority black community in a predominantly white region.

Buck and Mills are the founders of Friday Truehart Consultants, named after Mill’s fourth great-grandfather who was brought to Hopewell from Charleston in the 18th century by his master, Reverend Oliver Hart. Both women work closely with K-12 educators from school systems interested in including African American history in their lesson plans and curriculum.

They are founding members who serve on the advisory board of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum and have been trustees of the Stoutsburg Cemetery Association for the past 35 years. They are also members of the National Council of Negro Women and the Sankofa Collaborative, a resource that will ensure that material and resources relating to African American history will be readily accessible statewide to a broader and more diverse audience.

The event is open to the public, but registration is encouraged. Email Cindy Warrick at or call 609-278-2640, ext. 172.