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Tales from the Black Woods: Experiences of 19th Century Black Adirondackers

Fall Lyceum series Landscapes, Real and Imagined

 Tonight's lecture explores Essex County stories that underscore the deep appeal of land ownership and farming for black families before the Civil War, and celebrates the richness of the 19th-century black Adirondack experience.

Amy Godine will tell the stories of how a self-emancipated slave from New Orleans wound up on an Adirondack homestead; why a black collier and Civil War veteran from New Russia took the famous abolitionist, Gerrit Smith, to court; and how it was that a slave owned prime lakefront property in Lake Placid and never knew a thing about it. This lecture will change your perception of the historical landscape of our region.

Black farmers in North Elba, courtesy Adirondack Experience

Black farmers in North Elba, courtesy Adirondack Experience


Independent scholar and Adirondack Life contributor Amy Godine has published scores of articles about Adirondack ethnic and social history.  She has curated several exhibitions, including Dreaming of Timbuctoo, about an abolitionist-founded black settlement near North Elba. This exhibition is on permanent display at the John Brown Farm in North Elba.

Amy has lectured widely in the region on migratory laborers, immigrants, ethnic neighborhoods and enclaves, peddlers, paupers, strikers, and other Adirondack "non-elites."

Earlier Event: October 14
Dana Lyn & Kyle Sanna
Later Event: October 20
Won't You Be My Neighbor?