There are shouts from a crowd and hoofbeats; a narrator breaks in.
"What is all the commotion about?" she asks. "It is happening in a section of Camden called Fettersville . . . [where] a mob of colored people rescued a black man."
The podcasts were funded with a $30,000 grant from the N.J. Historic Trust to the Camden County Board of Freeholders. They were produced by the South Jersey Tourism Corp., which has posted a directory at visitsouthjersey.com/audio/ccpodcast/.
I've already listened to all five of these often-moving pieces when I visit the historically African American borough, a solid working-class and middle-class community traversed by both I-295 and the Turnpike.
The roar of traffic may be forever close by in Lawnside but the past feels even closer. History is particularly palpable in the lovingly restored Peter Mott House, the subject of one of the podcasts.
I meet county and borough officials, as well as scriptwriter Higgs, inside the simple two-story frame house, which is partly surrounded by townhouses.
"The podcasts are like going back in time," says Freeholder Scot McCray, 32, who lives in Camden.
"We have historical gems in the county, and this house is one of them," he says. "There's an educational as well as a tourism aspect to them. They're affordable places families can come out and enjoy, and not just during Black History Month."
Linda Shockley is president of the Lawnside Historical Society, which owns the Mott House. It was saved from demolition more than 30 years ago after an outcry from local residents.
"The podcasts are a great innovation," says Shockley, noting that visitors to the house can listen to them on their smartphones as they tour the house.
"We want to incorporate them into the Peter Mott House website. We want people to learn about us."
Taking pictures of the event is Raymond Fussell, 81. He's a direct descendant of the Saddler family, after whom the Saddlertown section of what is now Haddon Township is named.
His ancestor Joshua Saddler is featured in one of the audio clips.
"They're great. After all, we're kind of in a cellphone world these days," says Fussell, a retired federal employee.
Higgs, who was born and raised in Lawnside and teaches social studies at the borough school, says she wrote the scripts with family audiences in mind. Children figure in several of the stories.
"I thought it would be a very good idea to use children, because of the way [other] children would respond," says Higgs, a mother of two and grandmother of one.
"This is a great way to explore the history and get a broader sense of what went on," she adds. "It's another way to get the information out and get more people exposed to the history."
Although many sites in South Jersey and elsewhere are rumored to have been "stops" on the Underground Railroad, much of the inspiration for Higgs' storytelling comes from the work of professional historians.
"Basing it on the research, having it documented, helped me feel the essence of the stories, and added depth," she says. "They felt so much more alive."
Paul Schopp, a longtime historian from Burlington County, developed some of the information for the project.
"Underground means clandestine, so written records don't really exist, except for the records of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, which are now at the Pennsylvania Historical Society."
And the stories about the Mount Peace Cemetery, the Croft Farm, historic Haddonfield, and other sites of significance to African American, and American, history are now a mere mouse click or keyboard tap away.
To view an interview with Muneerah Higgs, go to
Contact staff writer Kevin Riordan at 856-779-3845, email@example.com, or @inqkriordan on Twitter. Read the metro columnists' blog, "Blinq," at http://www.philly.com/blinq.