May is author of Yuletide in Dixie: Slavery, Christmas and Southern Memory (2019). He earned his undergraduate degree at Union College in Schenectady. [Read more…] about Slavery, Christmas and Southern Memory
A press release from the New York City Parks Department announced “In honor of the 51st anniversary of Black Solidarity Day … 10 park spaces” would be named in “honor of the Black experience in New York City.” This was intended to fulfill a pledge made by the Parks Department “to demonstrate how it stands in solidarity with the Black Community in its fight to combat systemic racism.”
The newly named park spaces recognize national figures like Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Elston Howard, and Ella Fitzgerald who all had New York ties and were local community leaders. Baldwin gets a lawn in Harlem. Langston Hughes gets a playground. Elston Howard, a baseball MVP for the Yankees, gets a baseball field near Yankee Stadium. Ella Fitzgerald gets a playground in Queens. [Read more…] about NYC Park ‘Spaces’ Recognize African American Contributions, But
Born in 1799, Clemente Bassano (the family name originates from the Veneto region of Italy) settled in London and started his career as a fishmonger in Soho. By 1825 he ran a warehouse from Jermyn Street, St James’s, importing almonds, oil, capers, and macaroni.
His daughter Louise was an opera singer who toured with Franz Liszt on his London visit in 1840/1. Her brother Alessandro became a high society photographer with a studio in Regent Street. His portrait of Horatio Kitchener was used during the First World War for an iconic recruitment poster. [Read more…] about Harlem’s “Black Beauty” Mills; London’s Josephine Baker
The Greece Historical Society (GHS) is the recipient of two grants totaling $30,000 to fund a Cultural Resource Survey of the architecture of noted Rochester African American architect Thomas W. Boyde, Jr.
The grants were awarded by the Preservation League of New York State and their program partners at the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. [Read more…] about Upstate Historians Shine Light On A Noted Black Architect
In October of 1960, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech entitled “The Future of Integration” at the annual convention of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in the Catskills at the Laurels Country Club in Sackett Lake, Sullivan County, NY.
Less than two weeks after that October 8th appearance, he was sitting in jail for attempting to integrate the lunch counter at Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta, Georgia. [Read more…] about Martin Luther King In The Catskills
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Stanley A. Ransom, Jr.’s new book America’s First Black Poet; Jupiter Hammon of Long Island (Outskirts Press, Inc., 2020) is a collection of poems and writings of Jupiter Hammon, who spent most of his life as a slave in Lloyd Neck, Long Island. [Read more…] about New Book On Early Black Poet Jupiter Hammon of Long Island
A new study by Jessie Serfilippi, a historical interpreter at the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site in Albany, New York, details Alexander Hamilton’s “Hidden History as an Enslaver.”
Philip Schuyler was the father of Eliza Hamilton, Hamilton’s wife, and one of the largest slaveholders in New York State when the new nation was founded. [Read more…] about Reconsidering the Legacy of Alexander Hamilton
The Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State has announced the formation of a new committee, focusing on archives and oral histories with the goal of identifying archival materials related to the Underground Railroad in New York State. [Read more…] about Underground Railroad Survey Seeks To Identify Local Collections
Thomas W. Boyde, Jr. is Rochester’s foremost African American architect. He was a master of Mid-Century Modern home design and did significant work designing buildings for communities of color and the low-income communities.
Many of Boyde’s projects no longer exist or have been severely altered. [Read more…] about Survey Underway of Rochester African-American Architect’s Buildings
Back in July 1962 I was in the Deep South, working to register Black voters. It was a near-hopeless project, given the mass disenfranchisement of the region’s Black population that was enforced by Southern law and an occasional dose of white terrorism. [Read more…] about Memories of Voter Suppression