After four years of work, a new property is opening in Cape May that will connect the town's history with modern services for the community.

Back in 2020, the Cape May County Library Commission applied for funding to repurpose the Historic Franklin Street School. Originally built in 1927, it was a segregated elementary school and later became designated as a New Jersey African American Historic Site.

After receiving a $3.447 million grant from the New Jersey State Library system along with money from the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Historic Preservation Fund, the CMCLC spent the last couple of years rehabilitating the almost 100-year-old building.

On June 13th will be the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the new state-of-the-art Library inside the Historic Franklin Street School building. The new library will feature the services and programs other modern libraries offer along with preserving the African American history of the property.

At 1 pm on June 13th, the old library located on Ocean Street will have Book Brigade re-enactment to commemorate the transfer of books from the old to the new facility.  The ribbon cutting ceremony of the new library is scheduled for 3 pm.

The new library on Franklin Street is also a couple minutes walking distance from the Harriet Tubman Museum. The pairing of the two buildings are part of maintaining the history of African Americans in Cape May.

According to historians, 30 percent of the Cape May population was African-American in the 1920s.  Sections of Franklin Street, Lafayette Street, and Corgie Street were the home for many families escaping the South during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

For more information about the Cape May County Library system and upcoming events, you can visit their website here.

Looking for some reading recommendations for the summer?  Here are my top Non-Fiction Books you should add to your reading lists:

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Gallery Credit: Josh Hennig/Townsquare Media

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