Hudson Valley Black History Research Project
Black History is woven into the fabric of our region’s past, but where can we go to learn about it? The History Alliance of Kingston is designing a digital guide to compile existing Black History of the Hudson Valley resources and collect new ones for researchers and the general public alike. This effort builds on work done by and with the region’s Black community for a long time, including Dr. A.J. Williams-Myers’s research, the creation of the African Roots Center, the Conference on Black History in the Hudson Valley, and many more community projects.
We are working to right a serious wrong. Too little has been written about the Black history of our region, and our institutions did not consciously collect or catalogue items focused on these stories. Now, as our member institutions independently undertake Black history research projects and respond to requests from researchers who are eager to learn more, we decided to pool our resources in an effort to share the source materials that can help tell a more complete story. Our goal is to make these resources — and stories– more accessible for researchers and the general public.
The History Alliance of Kingston (HAK) introduced our newest project to the public, the Black History of the Hudson Valley Collaborative Research Project in a Zoom presentation as part of Black History Month Kingston on Monday, February 22, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
At this public program, HAK members shared an early draft of our Black History of the Hudson Valley Collaborative Research Project, a collection of resources (both published and not) that we have compiled with the help of scholars in the field. We also shared several research projects currently in-progress and invited the broader community to contribute their knowledge. The aim of this session was to introduce this project, and to invite the broader community to help us identify existing resources for inclusion in this guide– including personal and family stories and collections. Already in the comments, there was great interest and a few historical leads! We invite you to contribute your research and collections to it, and to spread the word about it!
Here is a link to the YouTube archive of this presentation.
How to Participate:
Please contact HAK if you have resources which we could collect to pursue this project!
You can use the email address “email@example.com” to contact us in reference to this project.
Here also is a Black History of the Hudson Valley Research Submission Form to help declare and coordinate Hudson Valley Black History Resources. Please use this form to submit published and unpublished sources on Black history in the Hudson Valley. These can include nonfiction books and published articles, archival collections, privately-held collections, museum exhibits, oral histories, digital presentations, historic and documentary films, etc. More information and directions are on the form itself!
The current state of this project’s resources is made available here in this page as a table:
The Hudson Valley Black History Research Project Spread Sheet
Over the summer of 2021, Bard College graduate Christina Sinclair Jones, with the A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Center, conducted research to find locations in the Hudson Valley related to “The Negro Travelers’ Green Book”, which was a guide for Black travelers in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean which listed over 3,000 businesses – most of which were Black-owned – where Black people could safely/most reliably exist during their travels.
Read the report here as a PDF: The Green Book Project Report .
Thanks to all contributors!