August 16 - 26, 2021
Programs will be uploaded daily online starting August 16, 2021
Created by Victoria Basulto, Colgate University Graduate and Upstate Institute Fellow
Funded by the Kathryn W. Davis Projects for Peace Fellowship
Black History in Upstate New York Programs Begin August 16th, 2021
The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) will host the Black History in Upstate New York program, created by Colgate University graduate Victoria Basulto, beginning this August 16. The program is funded by the Kathryn W. Davis Projects for Peace fellowship, awarded to one Colgate University student each summer to facilitate a student-led project aiming to promote peace. The daily programs will provide a combination of bite-sized informational videos and longer presentations by scholars on historical figures and places that emphasize the crucial role Black Americans have played in the history of Upstate New York. Specifically, the program will highlight lesser-known individuals, events, and places in Upstate New York central to movements like abolitionism, civil rights, and women's suffrage. Basulto desires that the program help Upstate New Yorkers become more familiar with their local history and bring more public awareness to Black American history in the region. The program's ease of access online (hosted on the NAHOF website and YouTube channel) will also make Black History in Upstate New York accessible to a national audience.
Monday, August 23
The Quest for Enfranchisement: Timbuctoo (est. 10 minutes)
Basulto will provide an introduction to the settlement of Timbuctoo located in the Adirondacks. She will discuss how in 1846, the abolitionist Gerrit Smith decided to divide and gift 120,000 acres of land to Black Americans living in New York State to enfranchise them. At the time, Black Americans needed to own $250 of real estate to vote in New York State while white men only required $150.
Tuesday, August 24
Louisa M. Jacobs and the Universal Suffrage Tour (est. 20- 30 minutes)
Susan Goodier, PhD., is an Assistant Professor of History at the State University of New York at Oneonta and author of No Votes for Women: The New York State Anti- Suffrage Movement and co-author of Women Will Vote: Winning Suffrage in New York State. In this presentation, Dr. Goodier will speak about Louisa Matilda Jacobs, daughter of Harriet Jacobs, who authored Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and her tour of Upstate New York with the American Equal Rights Association seeking Universal suffrage. Dr. Goodier will speak about the tour, the people who organized and aided it, and the experience of Louisa Jacobs herself. Dr. Goodier will be drawing from current research, specifically from her ongoing manuscript project “Networks of Activism: Black Women in the New York State Suffrage Movement.”
Wednesday, August 25
I’ll Write Their Names: My Family in Slavery & Slavery in My Writing (est. 20 - 30 minutes)
Uncommonly well documented, the story of playwright Kyle Bass’s family in America begins in enslavement. Inspired, compelled, and guided by his ancestors’ journeys from bondage in New England and the American South to freedom, homesteading, and history-making in Upstate New York, Bass, the author of the critically acclaimed Possessing Harriet, discusses what it means to be an African American writer with a deep connection to the past and a place. Kyle Bass is the author of Possessing Harriet, commissioned by the Onondaga Historical Association, which premiered at Syracuse Stage in 2018, was produced by Franklin Stage Company in 2019, and will be produced by East Lynne Theater Company in 2022. Professor Bass is Assistant Professor of Theater at Colgate University, Associate Artistic Director at Syracuse Stage, and was the 2019/20 Susan P. Stroman Visiting Playwright at the University of Delaware.
Thursday, August 26
Heaven and Peterboro (est. 20 - 30 minutes)
Norman K. Dann is a researcher and biographer of Gerrit Smith and the head docent at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark located in Peterboro, NY. He will end the "Black History in Upstate New York series" with a presentation whose title was inspired by the abolitionist Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, who is quoted as having said to Frederick Douglass, ‘There are yet two places where slaveholders cannot come, Heaven and Peterboro." Dann will discuss the history of the Gerrit Smith Estate, located in Peterboro, as a stop in the Underground Railroad and some of the individuals who came across its grounds.
National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum
P.O. Box 55, 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro NY 13134