Category Archives: African American History

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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Pinkster Celebration at Fort Crailo Saturday


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pinkster celebrationOn April 22, 2017 from 11 am to 4 pm, Crailo State Historic Site will host a Pinkster celebration featuring the performance and education group, The Children of Dahomey.

Once a Dutch holiday commemorating Pentecost, Pinkster became a distinctly African American holiday in the Hudson River Valley during the colonial era. During the 17th and 18th centuries, enslaved and free African Americans transformed Pinkster from a Dutch religious observance into a spring festival and a celebration of African cultural traditions. All along the Hudson River and on Albany’s “Pinkster Hill” (the current site of the NYS Capitol), enslaved African Americans reunited with family and friends and celebrated Pinkster with storytelling, food, music, and dance. Other Pinkster traditions, like the selection of the Pinkster King, created opportunities for enslaved African Americans to honor respected members of the community and to subtly mock their white enslavers. Continue reading

Idealist-on-the Hudson: Martha Gruening’s ‘Libertarian’ School


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gomez mill houseThe three-century-long ownership chain of the Gomez Mill House in Marlboro is a many-tiered, richly-textured layer cake of personal stories.

Specific historic periods lend unique flavoring to each personal history.

But in the case of the recently-rediscovered activist Martha Gruening (1889-1937), her early-20th dreams of a better, more just world have a distinctly modern resonance. Continue reading

Black Soldiers of New York State Lecture In Schenectady


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black soldiers of ny stateAfrican Americans have a long, and often overlooked record of serving in NYS armed forces. Join the Schenectady County Historical Society on Saturday, April 1 at 2 pm, as author Anthony Gero explores the contributions of New York’s African Americans prior to the military’s integration.

African American solders – in spite of many obstacles – served courageously and valiantly, winning many commendations and earning the respect of friend and foe alike. This talk is presented as part of the “Together Until the End: Schenectady in the First World War” series. Continue reading

New Exhibit: Black Radical Women 1965-85


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Jan van Raay A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum continues with We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85.

Focusing on the work of more than forty black women artists from an under-recognized generation, the exhibition highlights a group of artists who committed themselves to activism during a period of profound social change marked by the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, the Women’s Movement, the Anti-War Movement, and the Gay Liberation Movement, among others. Continue reading

Gerrit Smith, John Brown, and the Crusade for Social Reform


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gerrit smithPeterboro NY will launch its 2017 Crusade for Social Reform at 1 pm on Saturday, March 11, with the annual celebration of Gerrit Smith’s birthday, held at the Smithfield Community Center, 5255 Pleasant Valley Road.

Born March 6, 1797, Gerrit Smith, who lived and worked his entire adult life in Peterboro, was known for his philanthropy and activism for equality. Norman K. Dann PhD, researcher and author of Practical Dreamer: Gerrit Smith and the Crusade for Social Reform will introduce the 19th century Smith family activities, and then volunteers from the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark and the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) will explain the 2017 programs that will continue the quest for human rights in the 21st Century. Continue reading

Racism and Sexism Women’s History Month Exhibition


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Soraida MartinezSoraida Martinez artist of Verdadism paintings and framed giclee fine art prints will exhibit her works at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, during Women’s History Month from March 3 to March 24, 2017.

A reception for the artist will be held Saturday, March 4, 2017, from 2 to 4 pm. All are welcome to meet the artist and have a dialogue on women’s rights, race relations and social justice. Continue reading

New African American Heritage Trail Moves Forward


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robert astorino at the jay heritage centerIn celebration of Black History Month, Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino was joined on February 13th, 2017 by Barbara Edwards, Esq., Chair of the Westchester County African American Advisory Board, at the Jay Heritage Center in Rye, to unveil the new Westchester County Guide to African American History and Heritage and to announce this year’s Trailblazer Award winners. Continue reading

Blacks on US Currency Exhibit at Museum of American Finance


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On Wednesday, February 22, the Museum of American Finance will open “For the Love of Money: Blacks on US Currency,” a traveling exhibit on loan from the Museum of UnCut Funk.

To be featured on currency is among the nation’s highest honors. The Treasury’s latest redesign – which will feature Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill beginning in 2020 – will acknowledge for the first time on paper money the contributions of Black and women’s rights activists in advancing American democracy. There is a longer tradition of honoring such leaders through the creation of commemorative coins, medals and medallions. Continue reading