Sergeant Henry Johnson, an African-American hero of the First World War from Albany, NY, will officially have Fort Polk in Louisiana renamed in his honor this June. The move comes after Congress authorized the Naming Commission to provide new names for U.S. military bases and other Department of Defense installations originally named after Confederate leaders and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) advocated for the change. [Read more…] about Army Base Being Renamed for Albany’s Henry Johnson
Sojourner Truth: How An Enslaved Dutch Speaker Became A Black Liberation Icon
On March 31st, 1817 the New York State Legislature decided that enslavement within its borders had to come to an end. Final emancipation would occur on July 4th, 1827. Coincidentally, the date of choice was almost exactly two centuries after the Dutch West India Company’s yacht Bruynvisch arrived at Manhattan on August 29th, 1627. [Read more…] about Sojourner Truth: How An Enslaved Dutch Speaker Became A Black Liberation Icon
A Catskills Copperhead Strikes Against Lincoln & Abolition
One of Sullivan County, NY’s first historians and most noted newspaper publishers, James Eldridge Quinlan, was a Copperhead, a pro-slavery Southern sympathizer, during the Civil War.
Anyone with any doubts about Quinlan’s leanings on the subjects of slavery, the abolitionists, and Abraham Lincoln need only peruse the pages of the Republican Watchman newspaper during the years leading up to the Civil War and during the war itself, to be convinced. [Read more…] about A Catskills Copperhead Strikes Against Lincoln & Abolition
James Bailey: A Confederate Guerrilla in Saratoga County
The Civil War claimed more Americans than any other conflict involving the United States. This is the story of how James Bailey, a staunch Confederate once in armed revolt against the United States, found himself in Saratoga County.
At about 5 am on August 10, 1861, an attack ordered by United States General Nathaniel Lyon was launched against the Confederates at Wilson’s Creek, near Springfield, Missouri. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, in which about 5,400 United States troops faced about 12,00 Confederates, was the first major conflict west of the Mississippi River. [Read more…] about James Bailey: A Confederate Guerrilla in Saratoga County
US, NYS Continues To Honor Slavers, Racists, Traitors and Scoundrels
In 2023, the United States Military Academy will remove 13 Confederate symbols on its West Point campus. They include a portrait of Robert E. Lee dressed in a Confederate uniform, a stone bust of Lee, who was superintendent of West Point before the Civil War, and a bronze plaque with an image of a hooded figure and the words “Ku Klux Klan.”
Art displayed in the United States Capitol building in Washington, DC, still includes images of 141 enslavers and 13 Confederates who went to war against the country. A study by the Washington Post found that more than one-third of the statues and portraits in the Capitol building honor enslavers or Confederates and at least six more honor possible enslavers where evidence is disputed. [Read more…] about US, NYS Continues To Honor Slavers, Racists, Traitors and Scoundrels
Boston’s Black Workers in the Civil War Era
In her book No Right to an Honest Living (Basic Books, 2023), Jacqueline Jones reveals how Boston was the United States writ small: a place where the soaring rhetoric of egalitarianism was easy, but justice in the workplace was elusive.
Before, during, and after the Civil War, white abolitionists and Republicans refused to secure equal employment opportunity for Black Bostonians, condemning many of them to poverty. [Read more…] about Boston’s Black Workers in the Civil War Era
Expanded New Edition Adirondack History Published
Echoes in These Mountains was author-historian Glenn Pearsall’s first award-winning book. Published in 2008, it tells the stories behind 55 historic sites in the Adirondack township of Johnsburg, in Warren County, NY.
The book was well received and the original run of 1,500 copies sold out years ago, so Pearsall decided it was time for a second edition. The second edition features additional historic photographs, an index and added new research and analysis, totaling 512 pages. [Read more…] about Expanded New Edition Adirondack History Published
Saratoga County’s Traveling Tombstone
Marble tombstones are usually considered permanent objects in a cemetery. Yet, the stone erected to remember Phillip Rice has been found in several locations before finally being installed at Veteran’s Circle in Corinth Rural Cemetery in Saratoga County, NY.
Phillip Rice, born in Albany in 1822, was the son of Thomas Rice. By 1855 he was married to Martha Stead, a native of England, and living in Corinth. Phillip was a leather worker and was also listed as a shoemaker. At the age of 38 he enlisted in the army in the 30th Infantry Company G that was organized in Saratoga Springs. [Read more…] about Saratoga County’s Traveling Tombstone
Drapetomania: Medicalizing Escaping Slaves Before The Civil War
In 1851, Dr. Samuel Adolphus Cartwright invented “Drapetomania” to describe the “psychological disorder” that caused enslaved people to run away from bondage before the Civil War. He spent enormous energy to research, diagnose, and suggest corrective treatments to mitigate this “deviant” tendency to escape slavery. [Read more…] about Drapetomania: Medicalizing Escaping Slaves Before The Civil War
NY’s Frank Myers Of The 54th Massachusetts: Correcting The Historical Record
In the Milltown Rural Cemetery located in the Town of Southeast, Putnam County, NY, there is a small, well-weathered military headstone that offers a faint hint to a story of courage and glory.
There lies a hero from the Civil War, a Black veteran, who didn’t live long enough for post-war decoration or celebration, and one who has regularly been misreported in history books, until now. [Read more…] about NY’s Frank Myers Of The 54th Massachusetts: Correcting The Historical Record