Posts Tagged ‘slavery’

In the IHARE article Undoing the Whitewashing of Black History in New York, Peter Feinman continues to address “some of the ways the first two centuries of black history in New York from slavery to emancipation had been forgotten or downplayed over the years.”

He was referring to Hunts Burial Ground in the Bronx and the Harlem African Burial Ground. As some know, slavery was not ended in New York State until July 4, 1827.

To that end, as he noted, The New York Slavery Records Index is a “searchable compilation of records that identify individual enslaved persons and their owners, beginning as early as 1525 and ending during the Civil War. According to the website:

Our data come from census records, slave trade transactions, cemetery records, birth certifications, manumissions, ship inventories, newspaper accounts, private narratives, legal documents and many other sources. The index contains over 35,000 records and will continue to grow as our team of John Jay College professors and students locates and assembles data from additional sources.

Amy Biancolli wrote a great article in the Times Union, New York’s slave past unearthed, showing how some surnames in the Albany area represent slaveholders with at least 13 enslaved people at some point: Dow, Beckman, Abeel, Van Buren, and Schuyler.

Feinman states, sarcastically: “Everybody knows slavery only occurred in the South. Everyone knows that the North is morally superior to the South because we never had slavery here. Everyone knows that slavery had nothing to do with the origin of the Civil War. Making 200 years of history disappear is quite a trick, but that history is still there and little by little it has emerged into the historical record.”

I haven’t had much of a chance to play with this tool yet. But I did a quick and dirty search on slaveholders with the last name Bell, because the oldest ancestor I can find, Harriet Bell Archer’s father, was William E. Bell, born in Orange County, NY. Harriet, born March 12, 1838, was the wife of James Archer, the Civil War vet I mentioned recently.

Type of Record Slave Owner
Year of Record 1790
Owner Last Name Bell
Owner First Name John
County or Borough Orange
Locality Orange
Number of Slaves 1
Number of All Persons 7
Source Document Census1790

Type of Record Slave Owner
Year of Record 1800
Owner Last Name Bell
Owner First Name William
County or Borough Rockland
Locality Orange
Number of Slaves 1
Number of All Persons 6
Source Document Census1800

And nothing in 1810 or later, suggesting the one enslaved person was freed, or escaped, in the first decade of the 19th century. Obviously something to investigate more fully in my purported free time.

The Constitution

If you’re ever looking at the Constitution of the United States, make sure you look at one that is footnoted, such as this one. It gives the reader a better sense of the trial and error that is the American experience.

For instance, Article I, Section 2, paragraph 3: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

“All others” were slaves, who were three-fifths of a person. Read the rest of this entry »

schuylerflattsprojectBack on June 5th, 2005, the remains of more than a dozen 18th Century African slaves were found buried at the former Capital Region estate of the Schuyler Family, which was known as Schuyler Flatts. They were discovered during construction work in the Town of Colonie, Albany County, NY off Route 32 near Menands/Watervliet.

Archaeologists studying this unmarked burial ground “discovered 13 sets of remains plus another set of remains was found in 1998.”

In 2010, bioarchaeological analysis was completed by the NYS Museum. The analyses determined that the remains are about 200 years old and represent 6 women, 1 man, 2 children, and five infants.

DNA analysis concluded that four of the individuals are of African descent. (West/East and Central Africa) Two sets of remains are descendants of women from Madagascar (off the coast of Southeast Africa). One individual, who may have been of mixed ancestry, was descendant from a Native American woman (possibly Micmac Tribe: Eastern Canada and the Northeastern corner of the United States).

The burial ground was dated between the 1700s and early 1800s. Historical research indicates that the burial ground was part of a large estate owned by the colonial Schuyler family who owned a number of slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Yes, this would be the same Schuyler family that Alexander Hamilton married into.

From a Times Union story by Paul Grondahl, which contains lots of details about the Schuylers: “In 1790, there were 217 households in Albany County that owned five or more slaves of African descent, a portion of the county’s 3,722 slaves, the most of any county among New York state’s 21,193 slaves counted in that year’s census.”

The graphic below is actually of the enslaved people in ALL of New York State.

“The bones [of the 14] rested on a shelf at the State Museum for the past 10 years while researchers pieced together what limited information they could using DNA analysis. Their names were never recorded and virtually nothing is known about their history.”

The Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Project is organizing an official interment of the remains of the fourteen, in order for these people to be buried with dignity and respect, even as work is being done to try to find other remains.

Upcoming Events

san
Public Meeting and Artist Presentation
April 30, 2016 1pm-3pm
New York State Museum (Huxley theatre), 222 Madison Ave, Albany

The Remains Will Lie in State
June 17, 2016 12pm-8pm
Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, 32 Catherine St, Albany

Burial Ceremony
June 18, 2016 11am-12pm
St Agnes Cemetery, 48 Cemetery Ave (off Broadway), Menands

For more information concerning the Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Project, please contact:
Evelyn (Kamili) King (Peace Out Productions)
Paul Stewart (The Underground Railroad History Project)

About the symbol: Sankofa is a word in the Akan language of Ghana that translates as “reach back and get it” (san – to return; ko – to go; fa – to fetch, to seek and take) and also refers to the Asante Adinkra symbol. Sankofa is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates as: “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.”

coffleSeveral months ago, friend Dan came across the word coffle and wondered if I was familiar with it; I was not. Somewhat appropriately, it rhymes with awful and lawful. It is derived from the Arabic qāfila, meaning caravan, and its first Known Use was in 1799.
Read the rest of this entry »

voting.not
The $80 Million Fake Bomb-Detector Scam—and the People Behind It.

How the Photography of Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams Told the Story of Japanese American Internment.

John Scalzi on Hurricane Katrina, and poverty. “Being Poor,” Ten Years On.

The Truth of ‘Black Lives Matter’: “They are NOT asserting that black lives are more precious than white lives.”

Mr. Frog linked to Here’s How New Texas Public School Textbooks Write About Slavery.

No, Mount McKinley’s former and new name, “Denali,” does NOT mean “Black Power” in Kenyan. Or Swahili. Denali means “the great one” in the local Athabaskan language of Alaska.

Question: Why must we still talk about race? Answer: Twelve. And I Am a Racist.

Steve Cutts is a London-based illustrator and animator who uses powerful images to criticize the sad state modern life and society.

Is thyroid cancer the ‘good’ cancer? It doesn’t feel that way when you get it. Read the rest of this entry »

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