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The first self-governing community of blacks north of Mason-Dixon


Lonside in Camden County – in the news protests many residents oppose the major development of warehouses in the area. A small township is also an important part abolitionist history. Founded by abolitionists in 1840 as a community for freed and escaped slaves, it was a stop along the subway. One of its most famous inhabitants was Peter Mott, a black farmer who helped runaway slaves in the years before the Civil War. At the time, the community was known as the Free City, but over the years several names have changed – after Free Town on Free Haven to Snow Hill, then on Denton, then Lawnton and, finally, in 1907, Lawnside.

A key date in its history was March 23, 1926, when Lonside was registered as its own district. Less than a month later, residents voted in a snap election and secured a seat behind Lonside the first independent self-government Black community north of the Mason-Dixon line.

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