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Amy 'Hetty' Reckless Center

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Hetty, as she was nicknamed, was born as a slave to Col. Robert Gibbon Johnson's mother, Jane.

Jane had granted Amy's freedom upon her death, however, the colonel illegally kept her enslaved at Johnson Hall right on Market Street. His second wife brutally assaulted Amy, pulling out chunks of her hair and knocking out her front teeth.

She escaped to Philadelphia and immediately contacted the abolitionist society and got to work.Still, Johnson wanted her enslaved and unsuccessfully sent slave catchers after her.


Despite these horrific challenges, she was a force--- aggressively providing invaluable resources to the black community. She moved back to Salem after Johnson passed and lived at 15 Market Street.


Despite her many contributions and that she was illegally enslaved by Johnson,

she did not gain her freedom until 1865, when slavery was abolished.

Her story matters--- her legacy matters. And so, the Reckless Center was created.


With the help, in the form of a grant from Lowe's, we are able to make necessary improvements to activate 116 W Broadway into something meaningful to our community.


Under the direction of the library, this place will be a place to gather with programming, clubs, and community events. Amy Reckless's legacy will be carried throughout the mission in the same thread of her work by providing valuable resources to our community.

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