Event: The Gradual Abolition of Slavery in New York

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Slavery in New YorkWhile New Yorkers often pride themselves on their July 4, 1799 law abolishing slavery, most do not realize that its elaborate provisions actually kept slavery alive for another 28 years.

In 1831, even abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, once an advocate of gradual abolition, made a full and unequivocal recantation of the law.

Writing in The Liberator Garrison said: “I unreflectingly assented to the pernicious doctrine… and thus publicly ask pardon of my God, of my country, and of my bretheren the poor slaves, for having uttered a sentiment so full of timidity, injustice and absurdity.”   The month of July thus became a bitter one for New York’s enslaved African Americans, for the emancipation date in was twenty eight years in the future — July 4, 1827.

Author L. Lloyd Stewart will give a presentation from his book A Far Cry from Freedom, which details the convoluted laws and politics of gradual emancipation in New York State, which he calls “New York State’s crime against humanity”.

Stewart will also discuss his most recent book, The Mysterious Black Migration 1800-1820: The Van Vrankens and Other Families of African Descent in Washington County, New York, which is the result of his genealogical research begun in 2000. It recounts the journey of thousands of people of African decent to Washington County in search of a more sustainable, prosperous and humane way of life.

The event will be held Thursday, July 10th, from 6:45 to 7:45 pm at the Albert Wisner Public Library Community Room, One McFarland Drive, in Warwick, New York.

This event is a joint program of the Seward / Mapes Restoration Committee of the William H. Seward Homestead and the Albert Wisner Library of Warwick, NY and is open to all adults and teens, but registration is required by calling The Albert Wisner Library at 845-986-1047 ext. 3 or email: events@sewardhomestead.org.


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