An exhibit honoring African-American historical figures opened Monday at New York’s state Capitol to highlight February as “Black History Month.”
Titled “From Slavery to Citizenship: The African American Experience in New York 1817-1872,” the display chronicles contributions black New Yorkers made during the years following the Civil War and emancipation of slaves.
“New York’s history as a progressive leader really began during this time,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Monday. “The courage of the writers, activists and soldiers, both black and white, who confronted racial inequality set a precedent that would inspire the New Yorkers who followed to lead the nation in the struggle against every type of injustice.”
The exhibit’s timeline starts with 1817, when New York passed a law to enact the gradual emancipation of slaves, and ends in 1872, when abolitionist Frederick Douglass became a member of New York’s Electoral College.
The display includes relevant artifacts, biographies and historical narrative. The artifacts are from collections belonging to the state Archives, the state Library and the state Military Museum.
Some individuals included are: Douglass; Sojourner Truth, abolitionist and women’s rights activist; Harriet Tubman, abolitionist and famous conductor of the Underground Railroad; and David Ruggles, publisher of the first black-owned periodical in New York.
Some artifacts featured are: the 1817 Gradual Emancipation Law of New York; the First Edition of “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” Frederick Douglass’s autobiography; documents from the organizing meeting of New York Chapter of the Anti-Slavery Society; and a flag from the 26th Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops.