March 18th, 2007

reading, activism, writing

Book # 14: Underground Railroad in New York and New Jersey

Underground Railroad in New York and New Jersey, by William J. Switala is a great resource for the research I've been doing. When I was a student in the public school system in Utica and Clinton, New York I was told the most outrageous lies about slavery.

As an adult, who finally got a hold of some writings of Frederick Douglass, I got angry about it. My history teachers told me that reading primary sources of historical events was how one determined what actually happened. Yet here was testimony by someone who had endured slavery and who lived just down the NYS Thruway and we never even read it.

So I began to wonder if Utica was part of the Underground Railroad. Turns out it was and that there is plenty of interesting history of the whole region and the role played by both African-Americans and whites in the struggle to end slavery.

This is the second book specifically on the subject of New York's abolitionist history the other one, North Star County I described here.

I'm headed to the Schomberg Center for Research soon to catch up on several books available nowhere else. This is a vital history and I'm so glad that I'm finally giving it the attention it deserves.

x-posted: Blog, 50bookchallenge