The Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State has announced the formation of a statewide committee to begin planning for the bicentennial of the legal abolition of slavery in New York, which finally took effect on July 4, 1827, following what was called “gradual emancipation” that began nearly 30 years before. [Read more…] about Commemoration of Slavery’s End in NYS Being Planned
In a short essay published earlier this week in Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Institute Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch wrote that the recent killing in Minnesota of George Floyd has forced the country to “confront the reality that, despite gains made in the past 50 years, we are still a nation riven by inequality and racial division.” [Read more…] about Smithsonian Offers ‘Talking About Race’ Portal
Like millions this past 4th of July weekend, my family tuned in to Disney’s streaming of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s epic Hamilton.
The performances indeed blew us all away. Our toes tapped under our tray tables to Daveed Diggs’ electric portrayal of Thomas Jefferson and “What Did I Miss?” Our hearts pained over Phillipa Soo’s gorgeously rendered entreaties “Look Around” and “That Would Be Enough.”
But all these indelible lyrics underscored why we will never be satisfied. Despite the brilliance of the script and cast, in dramatizing the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, Miranda left us longing for narratives beyond those of the Founding Fathers and their rarefied circle. Now we want to know what will come next to fill the ever more obvious omissions in our nation’s history. [Read more…] about The Hamilton Musical And History’s Unsung
As the last enslaved people living in New York State were officially freed on July 4th, 1827, celebrations reigned.
According to the New-York Spectator, people packed the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church on the corner of Church and Leonard Streets in Manhattan. The major societies for the support and liberation of African American people were there. Banners and flags festooned the church. “Several hymns written for the occasion were sung.”
Portraits of John Jay, a founder of the Manumission Society who had himself owned five people until 1800, and Matthew Clarkson, who introduced a bill for the gradual end of slavery to the New York State Legislature, were hung near a bust of Daniel D. Tompkins, who as Governor of New York had proposed this date as the day for emancipation. [Read more…] about July 4th, 1827: Freedom Day
The painful effects of racial bias and the long legacy of slavery are now on full display in our country. While many people live their lives shielded from such brutal realities, others must live them each day; carefully and often wary that any encounter could be fatal.
This different reality is a topic that causes discomfort, pain, and fear. Honest communication about race and the legacy of slavery in America is necessary to initiate change and foster a more equitable society. Conversation alone will not address or repair these issues. What is essential is dialogue towards understanding and empathy. [Read more…] about Preservation Long Island Offering Racial Bias Virtual Events, Resources
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, we explore Douglass’ thoughtful question within the context of Early America: What did the Fourth of July mean for African Americans in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries?
One of the most horrific anti-Semitic events in United States history happened in Marietta, Georgia. On August 17, 1915, Leo Frank, former director of the local National Pencil Company factory who was falsely convicted of murdering a teenage female factory worker, was dragged out of a state prison cell, taken to Marietta, and lynched.
A decade later, while Congress was sharply restricting immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe and a revitalized Ku Klux Klan was attracting adherents nationwide, Ernest Louis, a Jewish pharmacist living and working in Freeport, NY, on Long Island, was falsely accused of molesting a local teenage girl and forced to flee the Long Island town with his family. [Read more…] about When The Klan Ruled In Freeport, Long Island
Juneteenth is the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. The origins of the commemoration date back to June 19th, 1865, when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas first heard that the Civil War had ended, and they were free.
The June 19th, 1865 date was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to General Ulysses S. Grant. This was due to the lack of Union solders in Texas to enforce emancipation resulting in African Americans continuing to be held in bondage.
That changed on June 19th, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger entered Texas with a force large enough to enforce the freeing of the enslaved. [Read more…] about Juneteenth in New York State: Events, Resources
In early November 1966, my sister and I ― armed with a bucket of home-made paste, a wide brush, and a thick roll of “Vote No” posters ― headed off from my student apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to plaster the surrounding area with the signs.
The Patrolman’s Benevolent Association (PBA), a very powerful police union, had placed a referendum on the New York City ballot to remove civilians from the Civilian Complaint Review Board. [Read more…] about Subversion of NYC’s Police Brutality Policies: A Short History
The killing – some would say execution – of George Floyd by a senior Minneapolis police officer (and field trainer) and the militarized police response to Black Lives Matter protests have led to calls for a systematic reevaluation of policing in the United States.
The issues raised by protestors are definitely not new. In 1960, James Baldwin wrote in an Esquire magazine article that the police “represent the force of the white world, and that world’s real intentions are, simply, for that world’s criminal profit and ease, to keep the black man corralled up here, in his place.” [Read more…] about The 1900 New York City Anti-Black Police Riot