Working alongside prominent abolitionist Charles Turner Torrey, the two men encouraged those enslaved to flee north and helped create what is believed to be the first organized line of the Underground Railroad. [Read more…] about Flee North! Thomas Smallwood & The Early Underground Railroad
Recently retired Cornell University Professor Gerard Aching will present on his research and coordination of the Underground Railroad Research Project, which highlights the extensive roots of the network in Central New York, Western New York, and the Finger Lakes Region. [Read more…] about New Digital Resources for Underground Railroad History Research
A $2 million state grant will help launch the expansion of the Underground Railroad Education Center (UREC), which is currently housed in the former 19th-century home of Black abolitionists Harriet and Stephen Myers, a onetime stop on the Underground Railroad located in Albany‘s Arbor Hill neighborhood. [Read more…] about Albany Underground Railroad Center Receives $2 Million Grant
The United Order of Tents Eastern District #3, the oldest Black women’s fraternal organization in the United States, has received a grant from the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. The fund’s grants are designed to advance ongoing preservation activities for historic places such as homes, museums, and landscapes that represent African American cultural heritage. [Read more…] about United Order of Tents Wins Historic Preservation Grant
Few villages in New York State can lay claim to as rich a heritage as Rouses Point, and like the oft-used real-estate axiom says, there are three primary reasons — location, location, location.
As New York’s northeasternmost village, Rouses Point can be found at the north end of Lake Champlain. Bordering on Canada to the north and Vermont to the east, for decades it was a shipping and transportation crossroads, serving both water and rail traffic. [Read more…] about Rouses Point: A Northern New York Crossroads
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
In her new biography, Benjamin Franklin Butler: A Noisy, Fearless Life (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2022), Elizabeth D. Leonard chronicles Butler’s successful career in the law defending the rights of the Lowell Mill girls and other workers, his achievements as one of Abraham Lincoln’s premier civilian generals, and his role in developing wartime policy in support of fugitives from enslavement as the nation advanced toward emancipation. [Read more…] about Benjamin Franklin Butler: A Noisy, Fearless Life
Rev. Robert Everett was a Welsh-American who came to Oneida County, NY in 1823 from Wales. He very quickly became involved in the anti-slavery movement. In 1835, Utica was selected as the site for the first New York State Anti-Slavery Convention.
The meeting was broken up by an angry mob. From Utica Everett was forced to move several times as his church services were often interrupted by people who continued to support slavery. He was physically assaulted while preaching and had his horse injured and home burned down by pro-slavery activists. [Read more…] about Beaten & Burned Out: Welsh Anti-Slavery Hero Robert Everett
During the pandemic, I watched every episode of the BBC reality archeology program, Time Team, which ran for twenty years. The show condenses three days of archaeological exploration of a site into a one hour episode. Not only did I watch every episode, it is fair to say that I became obsessed with archaeology in general.
About halfway into the pandemic, I discovered that my friend Amy had become similarly obsessed. So when I found out that the Underground Railroad Education Center in Albany, New York was offering an opportunity to volunteer to participate in a five day dig they had planned for August, I called Amy and said, “Wanna do it?” She replied, “Hell yeah!” [Read more…] about Amy & Enid Go To Archeology Camp in Albany