Category Archives: African American History

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

UGRR Archaeology Open House At The Myers House


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myers houseOn Thursday, July 27 from 8 am to 2 pm, the Myers House in Albany will host an Archaeology Open House.

A six-week archaeological field school is now exploring the backyards of the Myers house, Thomas Elkins residence, and Ten Broeck Mansion in search of clues about the lives of African Americans who helped establish the Arbor Hill community during the early 19th century and the role of prominent community leaders in the struggle for justice and freedom.

Stephen and Harriet Myers were instrumental in the success of the Underground Railroad during the mid-nineteenth century. Today, their former residence is preserved as a significant historic site in Albany and a cornerstone of African American heritage in the Arbor Hill neighborhood. Continue reading

A History of Abolition


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ben_franklins_worldMost histories of American abolitionism begin just before the Civil War, during the Antebellum period. But the movement to end chattel slavery in America began long before the United States was a nation.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Manisha Sinha, a professor of history at the University of Connecticut and author of the award-winning book The Slaves Cause: A History of Abolition (Yale University Press, 2016), takes us through the early American origins of the the abolition movement. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/142

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‘Legacy of Lynching: Racial Terror in America’ Opens July 26


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Shirah Dedman, Phoebe Dedman, and Luz Myles visiting Shreveport, Louisiana, where in 1912 their relative Thomas Miles, Sr., was lynchedThe Brooklyn Museum, in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) and Google,  are presenting the exhibition The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America.

On view from July 26 through September 3, the exhibition presents EJI’s research on the history of racial violence in the United States and its continuing impact on our nation to this day.

The exhibition will include video stories featuring descendants of lynching victims, a short documentary, photographs, an interactive map presenting EJI’s research, and informational videos. Continue reading

Exhibit: Freed Slave, New Paltz Landowner John Hasbrouck


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John Hasbrouck Account BookHistoric Huguenot Street has curated a new exhibit entitled John Hasbrouck, “A Most Estimable Citizen,” now on display at the DuBois Visitor Center, 81 Huguenot Street, through June 27, 2017.

John Hasbrouck was born to an enslaved woman in New Paltz in 1806 and, later, as a freeman, was able to purchase land in the town. He is commonly believed to be the first African American eligible to vote in New Paltz. The exhibit features original records; two account books in John’s own hand, listing work he did for white farmers and how he was compensated; as well as personal notes, letters, and receipts. The exhibit is accompanied by a full-length, biographical essay written by Josephine Bloodgood, Director of Curatorial and Preservation Affairs. Continue reading

The Washingtons’ Runaway Slave, Ona Judge


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ben_franklins_worldGeorge Washington was an accomplished man. He served as a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, first President of the United States, and on top of all that he was also a savvy businessman who ran a successful plantation.

George Washington was also a slaveholder. In 1789, he and his wife Martha took 7 slaves to New York City to serve them in their new role as First Family. A 16 year-old girl named Ona Judge was one of the enslaved women who accompanied and served the Washingtons.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Erica Dunbar, a Professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware and author of Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge (Atria Books, 2017), leads us through the early American life of Ona Judge.  You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/137 Continue reading

Nat Turner’s Revolt, 1831


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ben_franklins_worldThe institution of African slavery in North America began in late August 1619 and persisted until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in December 1865.

Over those 246 years, many slaves plotted and conspired to start rebellions, but most of the plotted rebellions never took place. Slaveholders and whites discovered them before they could begin. Therefore, North America witnessed only a handful of slave revolts between 1614 and 1865. Nat Turner’s Rebellion in August 1831 stands as the most deadly.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Patrick Breen, an Associate Professor of History at Providence College and author of The Land Shall Be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt (Oxford University Press, 2016), joins us to investigate the ins and outs of this bloodiest of North American slave revolts. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/133

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