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
In the spring of 1811, the Albany Common Council banned Pinkster Day celebrations because of “rioting and drunkenness.” Two centuries later, in an effort to revive a tradition from Albany’s past, members of the University Club petitioned the Common Council to repeal the prohibition. The Pinkster ban was lifted on May 16, 2011.
On Friday, June 3, the Club will welcome award-winning author Scott Christianson to its 6th Annual Pinkster Celebration at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany. Scott Christianson, Ph.D. is an award-winning author of several distinguished non-fiction books, as well as a journalist, criminologist, historian, filmmaker, teacher and human rights activist. Continue reading
While recently investigating the dismal record of the Amistad Commission, I came across the Underground Railroad portion of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (State Parks) – there I found reference to the New York State Freedom Trail, which began as a state project with similarly high hopes and followed the same trajectory to substandard results.
According to the State Parks webpage: “The New York State Freedom Trail Act of 1997 proposed the establishment of a Freedom Trail Commission to plan and implement a New York State Freedom Trail program to commemorate these acts of freedom and to foster public understanding of their significance in New York State history and heritage.”
The public is invited to the opening day of Crailofest, a celebration of African culture in the New World, on April 2, 2016.
From 12:30 until 2 pm, Crailo will be open for self-guided exploration of a new exhibit A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World and the permanent exhibit A Sweet and Alien Land.
Two more Crailofest days will take place on May 7 and June 4 with dramatic performances, poetry readings, stringed instrument performances, jazz, dance, art and food.
How did enslaved African and African American women experience slavery?
What were their daily lives like?
And how do historians know as much as they do about enslaved women?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore the answers to these questions with Jennifer L. Morgan, a Professor of History and Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University and our guide for an investigation into how historians research history. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/070
A new book, Liber A of the Collegiate Churches of New York, Part 2, provides new insight on colonial New York as a diverse New World economic hub. This volume includes a more-complete set of records of early life in the church, a cornerstone of colonial life.
Liber A Part 2 contains 17th-century records from the Reformed Dutch Church of the City of the New York, founded in 1628, which later became the Collegiate Churches of New York. The book includes details about daily life, baptism and marriage practices from this period, providing fundamental context. This volume is a companion to Liber A , published in 2009, and includes the church’s earliest moments such as details of its construction and the royal charter that led to its founding.
This week on “The Historians” podcast David Fiske discusses his new book, “Solomon Northup’s Kindred: The Kidnapping of Free Citizens before the Civil War” (Praeger, 2016). Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University professor and PBS host, said, “Fiske’s efforts to document these victims and the crimes that robbed them of their families and freedom are heroic indeed and should be applauded.” Fiske previously was the co-author of “Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave.” You can listen to the entire podcast here. Continue reading
Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, has announced that historian Eric Foner will be awarded with New-York Historical’s annual American History Book Prize for Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2015). The award recognizes the best book of the year in the field of American history or biography.
Professor Foner will receive a $50,000 cash award, an engraved medal, and the title of American Historian Laureate, which will be presented on April 8, 2016. The ceremony is part of New-York Historical’s Chairman’s Council Weekend with History, a two-day event featuring an array of speakers discussing important historical events that have impacted New York City and the nation. Continue reading
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we investigate the practice of Native American or indigenous slavery, a little-known aspect of early American history, with Brett Rushforth, author of Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France (University of North Carolina Press, 2014). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/064
In 2005, during Governor George Pataki’s administration, the New York State Legislature created the Amistad Commission to review the state’s curriculum about the slave trade.
“All people should know of and remember the human carnage and dehumanizing atrocities committed during the period of the African slave trade and slavery in America and consider the vestiges of slavery in this country,” the Amistad Commission website says. “It is vital to educate our citizens on these events, the legacy of slavery, the sad history of racism in this country, and on the principles of human rights and dignity in a civilized society.”
Unfortunately, the Amistad Commission’s effort to update the state’s slavery curriculum has been a failure. Continue reading