Press Releases

CCM Professor's Documentary on African-American Life in Morris County in the 1920s is Now Available on YouTube

Monday, March 30, 2015

Some 17 years after its debut on the New Jersey Network in 1998, an award-winning documentary depicting the life of African-Americans in Morris County during the 1920s is now available to a new audience at the click of a computer mouse.

“Chanceman’s Brothers and Sisters: the Origins of the 20th Century Morris County Black Community,” produced by Dr. Rita Heller, associate professor of history and political science at County College of Morris (CCM), can now be viewed at any time on the college’s YouTube channel.

Heller initiated the project with Dr. Gwen Dungy, the first black dean at the college. Heller, who served as executive producer, also worked with the late Dr. Clement Alexander Price, an African-American historian and the documentary’s script writer. Price, who was named Newark’s city historian and founded the Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience at Rutgers-Newark, described the film as “the first attempt to shed light on the internal logic of a New Jersey black community," according to Heller.

“When James ‘Chanceman’ Gregory, Morristown’s first black police officer, walked out on the beat in 1934 with his proud family watching from across South Street, he walked into history,” Heller said. “His story sent the production team’s imagination into fast forward. Gregory’s nickname would inspire our title, as well as our film’s themes.”

Gregory’s cousin, the late John Shaw Pinkman, who was Morristown’s historian, and three other individuals who experienced life in Morris County during the 1920s, are featured in the film through interviews. The 30-minute documentary was pared down from 15 hours of interviews.

Since its debut, the documentary has been available through the CCM Foundation office on VHS and DVD.

The video was recently made available on YouTube by the CCM Media Center. It can be found at

Photo: James “Chanceman” Gregory, the first black police officer in Morristown.
Credit: Courtesy of the Joint Free Public Library of Morristown and Morris Township

Freeholders Take County Meetings on the Road Again in 2015

The Morris County Freeholders this year are continuing a tradition they started in 2007 by taking some of their regular public meetings on the road.

The first will be Wednesday, April 22 in Harding, with the board’s public meeting to be conducted in the Harding Municipal Building, 21 Blue Mill Road, at 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to speak at that session.

Besides Harding, the freeholders have committed to conduct road meetings this year at the Morristown Municipal Building on May 27 and in Chatham Township on June 24, with others to be scheduled later this year.

Travelling meetings have been held in all 39 towns in Morris County since the practice began, and this year, the freeholders are in the second round of visiting each municipality again.    

“These meetings give us an opportunity to meet people and officials from throughout the county on their own turf, to hear their local and regional concerns, and get a better understanding of what is important to their towns and communities,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo.

Going into a town also makes it more convenient for those residents as well as for residents of nearby communities to attend a freeholder meeting, meet the freeholders and learn more about Morris County government and the services it offers, said DeFillippo.

The freeholder work sessions, which begin at 5:30 p.m., also will be conducted in those communities on the same day as the public meetings. While the public is invited to attend the work sessions, there is no public comment allowed.

 The board of freeholders meet twice monthly, with meetings normally held at the County Administration and Records Building in Morristown. For more information on Morris County government, please visit:

Third County Transportation Master Plan Workshop To be Held This Week In Morris Township

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Morris County Department of Planning and Public Works will hold the third in a series of four public workshops to get public input into development of a new countywide Transportation Master Plan on Wednesday evening, April 1, in the Haggerty Center at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morris Township.

A subsequent session later in April will be held in Roxbury. Residents from throughout the county are invited to attend either of the workshops. The first two workshops were held recently in Lincoln Park and Denville.

Future plans for all forms of transportation -- looking at how people and goods move by car, truck, bus, train, bicycle, and on foot, to and from and through Morris County – will be assessed in the plan, entitled “Morris County in Motion.” The project is funded by a grant from the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.

As part of the project, the county is reviewing existing municipal and regional plans to get a better understanding of communities’ priorities. The project team also is exploring potential future impacts of changes in demographics, advances in technology, and other trends in Morris County. The results of the study will help Morris County prioritize transportation investments, shape policies, and develop a framework for a safe and efficient transportation network.

“We are asking all interested county residents to share their thoughts how we can improve and enhance how we travel to and from and through our county,’’ said Deena Leary, Director of the Morris County Department of Planning and Public Works.

Interested county residents and municipal officials are invited to attend the public workshops, which are designed to identify transportation issues affecting the county, and offer advice on goals and strategies. Each of the meetings will offer similar information, and participants can choose to attend either of the two remaining workshops:

APRIL 1, 6-8 p.m.
Frelinghuysen Arboretum
Haggerty Education Center
353 East Hanover Avenue, Morris Township

APRIL 29, 6-8 p.m.
Roxbury Municipal Building
1715 Route 46, Ledgewood

In addition to these workshops, there are several other ways to participate. One easy method will be to use the project’s MindMixer webpage to share ideas and engage in surveys throughout the project.

Comments or ideas can also be emailed to or mailed to the Department of Planning & Public Works at P.O. Box 900, Morristown, N.J. 07963-0900

The project webpage can be visited for announcements and to read all of the plan’s reports. Also, progress on developing the plan can be followed on the County’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

The project is expected to conclude in May 2016 with the adoption of the Circulation Element by the Morris County Planning Board.

SPECIAL NOTE: If someone would like to participate in the meeting but requires special arrangements, such as language interpreters or audio assistance, please contact the Outreach Coordinator at (201) 377-2325 at least 5 business days before the sessions in Morris Township or Roxbury.


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