Twelve Years A Slave (W.W. Norton Critical Edition, 2017) offers the autobiography of Solomon Northup, based on the 1853 first edition. It is accompanied by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kevin Burke’s introduction and detailed explanatory footnotes.
Solomon Northup was a New York State-born free African-American man who was kidnapped in Washington, DC, in 1841 and sold into slavery. Northup worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before his release. Continue reading
In honor of President Lincoln’s January 1, 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, and Gerrit Smith’s connection to the copy of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in the New York State Library, Retired Navy Commander Owen Corpin will provide a program and prepare the watch fire for the Watch Night commemoration at 4 pm Sunday, December 31, 2016.
The program will begin at the Smithfield Community Center, 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro, and will move to the watch fire site on the Peterboro Green. Owen Corpin, a descendant of 19th Century freedom seekers who came to Peterboro, will describe the long wait through the night of December 31, 1862. Corpin organized the first Peterboro Watch Night for the Sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. Continue reading
This 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
One 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
In the decade before the Civil War, Northern Democrats, although they represented antislavery and free-state constituencies, made possible the passage of such pro-slavery legislation as the Compromise of 1850 and Fugitive Slave Law of the same year, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and the Lecompton Constitution of 1858.
In Northern Men with Southern Loyalties: The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis (Cornell University Press, 2016) author Michael Todd Landis contends that a full understanding of the Civil War and its causes is impossible without a careful examination of Northern Democrats and their proslavery sentiments and activities. Continue reading
The 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
Historic 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
Joseph 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 Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark (GSENHL) will be commemorating Emancipation Days Saturday and Sunday, August 6 and 7 with both traditional and new programs.
The event opens at 10 am with free parking and free registration at the Estate, followed by programs similar to those conducted in the 1920s and 1930s by a generation celebrating the emancipation of the generation before them. In 1925, more than 600 black men and women from Central New York made a pilgrimage to Peterboro, home of Gerrit Smith, to pay homage to abolitionists who fought for their freedom. Emancipation Day celebrations grew in later years, drawing crowds of more than 1,000 people, who came from Syracuse, Utica, Ithaca, Binghamton, Oswego and Fulton for parades, picnics and concerts. Although the practice faded after World War II, local descendants of freedom seekers are holding the Peterboro Emancipation Day celebration for the 7th year since its revival in 2010. Continue reading
In April, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that Harriet Tubman will be featured on the front of new $20 bills. Tubman is the first woman to appear on modern U.S. currency. She displaces former president Andrew Jackson, whose image will move to the back of the bill.
Lew’s decision came after a year’s discussion, including soliciting public input, on images for redesigned currency. Continue reading