This coming Saturday is the Conference on Black History in the Hudson Valley, so we thought this Media Monday that we would share this award-winning documentary film. Completed in 2018, "Where Slavery Died Hard: The Forgotten History of Ulster County and the Shawangunk Mountain Region" is the creation of the Cragsmoor Historical Society and was co-authored by archaeologists Wendy E. Harris and Arnold Pickman.
It is a common misconception that slavery did not exist in the North, or if it did, it "wasn't as bad" as in the South. This is false. New Amsterdam had enslaved people since the beginning, as slavery was a cornerstone of much of Dutch colonialism. And in the mid-18th century, more New Yorkers enslaved people than almost any other American colony. New York was one of the last Northern states to abolish slavery (New Jersey had "apprenticeships" until 1865). New York City was staunchly pro-slavery, even during the Civil War, but upstate New York was a hotbed of abolitionist activity, from Western New York to Albany.
"Where Slavery Died Hard" chronicles the role of slavery in Ulster County, including the story of Sojourner Truth, who was enslaved in Port Ewen (just across Rondout Creek from the Hudson River Maritime Museum) and elsewhere in Ulster County.
If you'd like to learn more about Black History in the Hudson Valley, you can attend the conference (in-person and virtual options available!), check out our past Black history blog posts, or visit the Hudson Valley Black History Collaborative Research Project and its in-process collection of Black history resources and research specific to the Hudson Valley.
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This blog is written by Hudson River Maritime Museum staff, volunteers and guest contributors.
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