Category Archives: African American History

Black History in the Hudson Valley Conference Planned


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Conference on Black History in Hudson ValleyA conference on Black History in the Hudson Valley has been set for Saturday, July 14th, from 9 am to 5:30 pm, in Kingston.

Hosted by the Hudson River Maritime Museum and The Library at the A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Center, the focus of this conference is the history of Black and African-American residents in the Hudson Valley, including communities and work along the canals and tributaries of the Hudson River. Continue reading

The Value of Slaves from Womb to Grave


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What did it mean to be a person and to also be a commodity in early America?

We can’t really understand the history of early America unless we also grapple with the institution of slavery because the two were so intertwined.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast,  Daina Ramey Berry, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas, Austin and author of The Price For Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation (Beacon Press, 2017), takes us behind the scenes of her research so we can explore how early Americans valued and commodified enslaved men, women, and children. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/176

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Lecture: Albany’s 1945 ‘Negro Artist Comes of Age’ Exhibit


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On Sunday at 2 pm Stephen J. Tyson will give a lecture on the Albany Institute of History & Art’s landmark 1945 exhibition The Negro Artist Comes of Age. The lecture is open to the public and is included with museum admission.

The Negro Artist Comes of Age was organized in 1945 under the leadership of the Albany Institute of History & Art’s John Davis Hatch Jr., with assistance from artist and professor Hale Woodruff.

The March 4th slide-lecture presentation will examine selected artists and works, aspects of the broader historical context that informed the development of these works, and the overall cultural significance and legacy of the exhibition. Continue reading

Colonial Port Cities and Slavery


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ben_franklins_worldThe histories of early North America and the Caribbean are intimately intertwined. The same European empires we encounter in our study of early America also appear in the Caribbean. The colonies of these respective empires often traded goods, people, and ideas between each other.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Marisa Fuentes, an associate professor of history and women and gender studies at Rutgers University and author of Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), joins us to explore some of the connections mainland North America and the British Caribbean shared in their practices of slavery in urban towns. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/173

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New England Bound: Slavery in Early New England


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ben_franklins_worldNew England was a place with no cash crops. It was a place where many of its earliest settlers came to live just so they could worship their Puritan faith freely. New England was also a place that became known for its strong anti-slavery sentiment during the 19th century. So how did New England also become a place that practiced slavery?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Wendy Warren, an Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University and author of the Pulitzer Prize-finalist book New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America (Liveright, 2016)joins us to explore why New Englanders practiced slavery and just how far back the region’s slave past goes. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/170

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New Book: Blacks in the Adirondacks


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blacks in the adirondacks bookSally E. Svenson’s new book Blacks in the Adirondacks: A History (Syracuse University Press, 2017) tells the story of the many African Americans who settled in or passed through this rural, mountainous region.

In the Adirondacks for a variety of reasons, some were lifetime residents, while others were there for a few years or months ― as summer employees, tuberculosis patients, or in connection with full- or part-time occupations in railroading, the performing arts, and baseball. Continue reading

Rye’s African American Cemetery Preservation Event Sunday


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Bell Family On Sunday, September 10th at 5:30 pm, David Thomas, Founder of the Friends of the African American Cemetery, will give a talk about the current efforts to preserve this National Historic Register site in Rye, NY.

The event is co-sponsored by the Jay Heritage Center, and will take place at 210 Boston Post Road, in Rye.

Attendees can learn how ongoing genealogical research is expanding an understanding of the families that are buried there and their place in the narrative of Westchester County’s history. Thomas will link the Purdy family of Harrison and Rye to two generations of an emancipated family at the Jay Estate. Light refreshments will be served afterwards. Continue reading

Slavery In The Mohawk Valley Event Thursday


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Johnson Hall State Historic SiteOn Thursday, August 24 Travis M. Bowman, Senior Curator with the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites, will present “Slavery in the Mohawk Valley”, examining how slavery evolved in New York under the Dutch, British, and American systems of government and how the institution was utilized at a local and personal level in the Mohawk Valley. Usually considered a “Southern” issue, slavery played a surprisingly large role in colonial and revolutionary era New York.

The lecture will begin at 6:30 pm at Johnson Hall State Historic Site, with refreshments served at the conclusion. There is no admission charge, but donations to support Johnson Hall’s interpretive programs and ongoing restoration will be appreciated. Continue reading