The Klyne Esopus Museum Will Present “The Wiltwyck School for Boys: Reclaiming Human Lives,” a lecture by Eve P. Smith, on April 16, at 4 pm at the Esopus Town Hall, in Ulster County, NY.
Smith will discuss the history and legacy of the Wiltwyck School for Boys in Esopus. The School was co-founded and championed by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1942.
According to Smith, “The Wiltwyck School for Boys was established as a direct response to the dire need for homes for young African American boys who were neglected or potentially delinquent, due to increased migration form the South beginning in the 1920’s. Racial discrimination meant that available services were increasingly insufficient.”
Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in a 1945 fund raising letter: “The children of Wiltwyck School need your help. In their short lives they have experienced more tragedy than most adults experience during a lifetime. They are victims of all the hostilities and maladjutstments New York City’s slums can foster… We hope that you will join with us in this work of reclaiming human lives.”
A special guest, New York State Archivist Thomas Ruller, will attend the lecture.
Eve Smith is the NYS Archives Larry J. Hackman Research Residency recipient. The lecture is co-sponsoed by The Klyne Esopus Historical Society Museam and the NYS Archives Partnership Trust.
This event will be held Saturday, April 16, at 4 pm at the Esopus Town Hall, 284 Broadway in Port Ewen. A reception and light refreshments will follow the lecture, which is free and open to the public.
The Klyne Esopus Museum will re-open in June with its new exhibit on “Hunting and Fishing in Esopus.” For further information about the Muesem, visit their website.
Photo: Eleanor Roosevelt and Maria Gudewitsch visit with boys at the Wiltwyck School in Esopus.