In Washington's Shadow
March 1st, 2017 3:20pm
Sound and Story celebrates Mahattanville college student, Tashae Smith. Last weekend, she received the Black Pioneer of Newburgh Award from the City of Newburgh Human Rights Commission. What did Tashae do to earn this honor?
She unveiled the story of 19th century African Americans in Newburgh through an audio walking tour, In Washington’s Shadow.
150 years from now when a college student like Tashae wants to research life in the late 20th century, they’ll have an abundance of documentation to explore. Including stories Sound and Story has collected. But few acconts of African American life in the 1800s remain today. Tashae had to scour public records and search through old newspapers to uncover this little-known history of the Hudson Valley.
The In Washington’s Shadow audio tour starts, not at Washington’s Headquarters - an important Revolutionary War landmark-but across the street at George Aldorf’s home, a man who claimed his freedom in 1827 before slavery was abolished in New York. Yes, our farms were once sustained by a slave population as large as Georgia’s. Aldorf went on to become one of the wealthiest men in Newburgh, and fought for the early desegregation of the Newburgh public schools. Thank you, Tashae, for bringing forward important stories from the Hudson Valley that may have otherwise been left unheard.
In honor of Black History Month, we’ve gathered together a new playlist - African American Voices. Listen to Frederica Warner describe watching her lovingly restored house destroyed by an urban renewal wrecking ball. Hear Barbara Williams fear as she recalls sitting on her porch in Alambama witnessing smoke rising a few blocks away from the burning of a Freedom Rider’s bus. Share Ted Bowles’ shock as he remembers encountering Jim Crow south after enlisting in the army. These stories may not have the national significance of General Washington’s, but they help us learn about our neighbors strengthening our connections to each other while revealing aspects of our past not always included in the historical record.
Sound and Story
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