The visit appears in few historical sources, no doubt because it was long-held belief that it was not wise to identify Underground Railroad agents or their locations as a precaution against pro-slavery advocates attacking them. [Read more…] about Frederick Douglass & Oneonta’s Underground Railroad
During Black History Month 2023, I received an email from Jill Mirabito, a longtime resident of Norwich, Chenango County, NY, and Associate Vice President for University Advancement at SUNY Oneonta. The note pertained to the Chenango County Historical Society having honored Benjamin J. Tillett, an African American resident of Norwich during and after the Civil War. He had been a slave in Northeast North Carolina before arriving in Norwich.
In November 1863, Tillett enlisted in the 11th United States Colored Heavy Artillery (also known as the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery). He returned to Norwich after the war and died there in 1902. Before his death, he had a membership with the E.B. Smith Post, GAR, A Knight Templar of Palestine Commandery, and attended religious services frequently at the local AME Zion Church. The admiration that Tillett received from his adopted residence caught my attention. I was intrigued. [Read more…] about Freedom in New York: Chenango County, the Underground RR & US Colored Troops
With the arrival of Black History Month, the 2023 theme, “Black Resistance,” will certainly emphasize the standard bearers of freedom seekers. Most noticeable will be the attention devoted to Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. There will also be discussions about the 1619 Project and the Critical Race Theory. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ attack on the teaching of the AP course in African American History will surely be debated.
Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, were two personalities that Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson honored in 1926 with his launching of Negro History Week. He selected the second week of February as the time of the annual celebration since it coincides with the birthdays of Douglass and Lincoln. [Read more…] about Black History Historiographic Genealogies: Sources & Resources