The NY Council for the Humanities will be providing Martin Luther King, Jr. & Inauguration Day online programs to encourage community dialogue about the history of race in America. January offers two unique opportunities to host conversations about our nation’s past, present, and future: Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day on January 19, 2009 and Inauguration Day on January 20, 2009. The New York Council for the Humanities is encouraging the use of these important occasions to organize community conversations focused on a short, shared text and a set of open-ended, thought-provoking questions. The Council will provide easy-to-use web pages, texts, and questions as well as suggestions for how to shape a respectful, engaging dialogue. All you have to do is provide a space and someone to facilitate the discussion-then invite the community. [Read more…] about New Online Web Resources for Martin Luther King Day
African American History
Professor Alan Singer of Hofstra University has a new book New York and Slavery: Time to Teach the Truth about the complicity of Wall Street institutions in southern slavery. It’s recently been reviewed at the History News Network by William Katz (author of Black Legacy: A History of New York’s African American). Katz argues that no longer can New York educators and historians ignore the facts about the role New York played in slavery. Here is an excerpt from Katz’s review:
Slavery began in the city soon after the Dutch landing in 1609, and enslaved Africans became vital to the colony’s economy. Africans built the first homes, brought in the first crops, turned an Indian path into Broadway, and built the wall at Wall Street. When it became the British colony of New York its bankers and merchants so successfully invested in the international African trade they made it the slave-traders’ leading port. After the Revolution, with the city leading the way, slavery and its profits grew in the land of the free. A greater percentage of white households in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island owned slaves than in South Carolina. The world’s first stock exchange opened in New York in 1792 and half of its 177 stockholders owned slaves. Africans were auctioned to bidders at Wall Street and other city markets. Forced labor made the Empire State…
New York and Slavery indicts a host of prominent New York mercantile and banking families and corporations such as Citicorp which first made its name in the slave trade. Slaveholder names currently grace our buildings, bridges, parks, streets, and schools. This, Singer shows, teaches our children to celebrate men who benefited from the African trade, southern slavery and bondage in New York.
The Associated Press is reporting that the Ellis Island Immigration Museum is creating The Peopling of America Center to tell the history of those who arrived in America outside the traditional peak immigration dates of 1892 to 1954:
Exhibits will focus on the arrival of Native Americans, who are believed to have migrated to North America more than 10,000 years ago across the Bering Sea from Asia; Europeans who landed on the Eastern seaboard from the 1600s through 1892; Africans brought here forcibly by slave traders; and today’s immigrants from all over the globe…
The $20 million, 20,000-square-foot space, designed by Edwin Schlossberg of ESI Design, will be located in an existing gallery that will be redesigned and in an adjoining building that now houses the curatorial staff…
Work on the new center began in September. Funding has been underwritten in part by Bank of America and the Annenberg Foundation. Briganti said the foundation has attained more than 75 percent of its fundraising goal.
Upon its completion in 2011, the museum will be renamed Ellis Island: The National Museum of Immigration.
The Planning Committee of the Eighth Underground Railroad (UGR) History Conference is soliciting brief proposals for presentations, panels, and workshops that address the theme “The Underground Railroad, Its Legacies, and Our Communities.” Proposals should be made for a 60-minute workshop session, for a poster session or exhibition, or for a cultural/artistic activity.
According to the announcement, conference organizers “ask that all proposals allow for significant audience interaction. And, while we urge that proposals focus on the conference theme, we also invite proposals on other important topics concerning Underground Railroad history. See the full call for proposals pdf here.
The Eighth Annual UGR History Conference will be held at College Park, Union College, Schenectady, NY, on February 27-28, 2009. It is sponsored by the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.
For more information, consult the web site at http://www.ugrworkshop.com/
Proposals should be submitted to the planning committee by September 30, 2008 by mail at URHPCR, PO Box 10851, Albany NY 12201 or via e-mail at urhpcr [AT] localnet [DOT] com