In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He also played a central role in the European adoption of Indian or Native American slavery.
When we think of slavery in early America, we often think of the practice of African and African-American chattel slavery. However, that system of slavery wasn’t the only system of slavery that existed in North America. Systems of Indian slavery existed too. In fact, Indians remained enslaved long after the 13th Amendment abolished African-American slavery in 1865.
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Andrés Reséndez, a professor of history at the University of California, Davis and author of The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in Americas (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), leads us on an investigation of this “other” form of American slavery. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/139.
Susan Stessin-Cohn and Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini’s book In Defiance: Runaways from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley 1735-1831 (Black Dome, 2016) documents 607 fugitives from slavery in the 18th and 19th-century Hudson River Valley region of New York State through the reproduction and transcription of 512 archival newspaper notices for runaway slaves placed by their enslavers or agents.
Also included are notices advertising slaves captured, notices advertising slaves for sale, notices offering to purchase slaves, and selected runaway notices from outside the Hudson River Valley region. Nine tables analyze the data in the 512 notices for runaways from Hudson Valley enslavers, and the book includes a glossary, indexes of names, locations, and subjects, 36 illustrations, 5 maps from the 18th and 19th centuries, and a foreword by A.J. Williams-Myers, Black Studies Department, SUNY at New Paltz. Continue reading
The 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
Marjory Allen Perez, former Wayne County Historian, has announced the completion of her new book, Final Stop, Freedom!: The Underground Railroad Experience in Wayne County, New York (Herons Bend Productions, 2017).
The book includes biographical sketches of men and women who boarded the Underground Railroad between 1800 and 1865. Thomas and Agnes Watkins were brought as slaves from Virginia to Sodus Bay by Captain William Helm about 1800. In 1810 they fled from slavery, taking with them their infant son, Edward. Loyd and Susan Chase and their six children arrived in Macedon, New York about 1844, but within a few years felt compelled to continue their journey to freedom, moving to Canada. In 1863, William Scott, then known as William Bacome, took advantage of the disruptions of the Civil War in Tennessee to begin his odyssey to freedom, traveling first to Massachusetts and eventually to Huron, New York, where he set down deep routes and raised his family. Continue reading
On 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
Early America was a diverse place. It contained many different people who had many different traditions that informed how they lived…and died.
How did early Americans understand death? What did they think about suicide?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Terri Snyder, a Professor of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton and author of The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America (University of Chicago Press, 2015), helps us answer these questions and more as she takes us on an exploration of slavery and suicide in British North America. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/125
The Historian’s Office and Historical Society of the Town of Colonie will host Michael T. Lucas, PHD, who will speak on the topic of Slavery in the old Town of Watervliet, on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 2 pm.
Slavery and Freedom in Nineteenth Century Watervliet will be held at the William K. Sanford (Colonie) Town Library, 629 Albany Shaker Road. Continue reading
The Schenectady County Historical Society will host a talk and book signing by local historian Neil Yetwin on February 11, 2017 at the Mabee Farm Historic Site.
Neil will be signing and selling copies of his book To My Son…: The Life and War Remembrances of Captain Mordecai Myers, 13th United States Infantry, 1812-1815.
How did the smallest colony and smallest state in the union became the largest American participant in the slave trade?
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Christy Clark-Pujara, an Assistant Professor in the Department of African-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (NYUPress, 2016), joins us to explore the history of Rhode Island and New England’s involvement with slavery.
You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/118
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