Category Archives: African American History

Grave Robbing And The Doctors Riot of 1788


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new york hospitalThe origins of this civil disturbance began in early February of 1788 and broke out in mid April of that year. Actually the City’s doctors did not riot as the name implies. However, it had its origins in the illegal procurement of corpses of free blacks and slaves and poor whites by doctors and medical students at an unaccredited surgical training school in lower Manhattan led by Richard Bailey, a Connecticut-born doctor who had studied in London.

Apparently it was expensive and almost impossible for the school to provide corpses for its teaching purposes and the professors and students resorted to stealing them from nearby Trinity Church yard and other local cemeteries including the one for people of color then known the “Negro Burying Ground” Continue reading

The Slave Conspiracy Riot of 1741


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slave revolt 1741This conflict also known as “The New York Conspiracy Riot” was an amazingly intricate and brutal affair that in addition to its local implications had an international twist as well.

In the context of the longstanding European conflicts, English colonists in New York City felt anxious about the French presence in Canada to the north and Spanish colonies in the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River Valley to the South and West. They also felt threatened by a recent influx of Irish immigrants, whose Catholicism might incline them to spy for France and Spain. Continue reading

Miguel Hernandez: The ‘Negro Riot of 1712’


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Gov. Robert HunterOne of the earliest documented riots in New York State that had a racial component or undertone was the so-called Negro Riot of 1712. It began in the area of a section of the New York City that later became be known as “Five Points” due to the convergence of three streets, Anthony, Cross, and Orange.

At that time the northern limits of British New York were present day Canal St. The population was about ten thousand, of which roughly one-fifth were African slaves. Continue reading

18th and 19th Century Racial and Ethnic Riots in New York


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orange riotLike many states in the nation, New York has a long history of racially and ethnically related civil disturbances, riots, rebellions and uprisings. These unsettling events have had lasting impacts on these communities long after disturbance had passed and relative peace was restored. The following is a descriptive but incomplete list of 18th and 19th century conflicts (principally of those in New York City) in which lives were lost, property was damaged or destroyed and law and order had to be established with the often violent, coercive use of force by police and/or state military units. Most importantly these events occurred in the context of a long-standing history of racial, ethnic and social class conflicts coupled with a triggering incident that set off a more sustained period of communal violence. Continue reading

Abolition Hall of Fame Announces Inductees


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Abolition Hall of Fame 2The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) induction ceremonies for the 2016 inductees will be held Saturday, October 22, 2016 at NAHOF, 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, in Peterboro, NY. The afternoon Abolition Symposia will present programs on each of the inductees:

· Rev. John Gregg Fee at 12:30 pm
· Beriah Green at 1:30 pm
· Angelina Grimké at 2:30 pm
· James W.C. Pennington at 3:30 pm Continue reading

New Exhibit: Slavery in New Paltz


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Hardenbergh Slave CollarHistoric Huguenot Street (HHS) has recently curated a new exhibit to explore the topic of slavery in New Paltz. This exhibit centers around wills and other documents dating from the late 17th century through the early 19th century from the HHS Archives, as well as a late 18th century slave collar from the HHS Permanent Collection. A highlight of the display is the account book of John Hasbrouck that records his work as a freeman, as well as the wages and goods he received as payment between 1830 and 1839. Continue reading

Slave Dwelling Project Shines Light on Northern Slavery


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joseph mcgillJoseph McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, will spend Friday night, September 9th, in a cellar kitchen at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz as part of the historian’s ongoing mission to bring awareness to former slave dwellings’ existence, history, and need for preservation.

Six SUNY New Paltz students and several members of the public will be invited to join McGill and his associate Terry James to share in this symbolic return to a time when even northern households enslaved Africans. Continue reading

The Origins of Racial Segregation in the United States


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ben_franklins_worldEver wonder how the United States’ problem with race developed and why early American reformers didn’t find a way to fix it during the earliest days of the republic?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Nicholas Guyatt, author of Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation (Basic Books, 2016), leads us on an exploration of how and why the idea of separate but equal developed in the early United States. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/096

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Profiles of African-Americans in Schenectady


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walter simpkins as moses vineyCelebrate Schenectady County’s black history on Saturday, September 17th, at 1 pm with Profiles of African-Americans in Schenectady. This event will have living history performances focusing on former slaves who escaped the shackles of slavery and discrimination to achieve greatness. It will also include a walking tour of the Stockade neighborhood focusing on the area’s black history and a presentation by the Underground Railroad History Project. Refreshments will be served after the walking tour. Continue reading

Civil Rights: Resisting The New Jim Crow Rules


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President Johnson Signs Civil Rights Act 1964The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) will host the culminating event for its CHANGING AMERICA exhibit and programs: a Community Conversation on the subject of “Resisting the New Jim Crow” on Saturday, July 9, at 2 pm.

NAHOF invites the public to join in sharing thoughts about the ways to engage in the work of racial justice at this time. This conversation will aim to help each be active, in many small ways, in standing together to work toward an end to such things as the school-to-prison pipeline, police brutality, and the legacy of white supremacy that still perpetuates racism and de-values black lives. Continue reading