African American News and Genealogy

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Slaves of N.Y.C. exhibit at library

History lesson in Jamaica BY HUGH SONDAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER The Cliffs Notes version of a blockbuster exhibit about the history of slavery in New York City opened to instant acclaim yesterday at Queens Library's central branch in Jamaica. The first stop of the traveling installation - a condensed version of the New-York Historical Society's extremely popular "Slavery in New York" exhibit - was celebrated by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans). "Queens County, America's most diverse borough, is a fitting and appropriate venue for this exhibition," Marshall said yesterday. "I encourage everyone to stop and see it." The exhibit - on display through June 17 in the lobby of the Merrick Blvd. library - will eventually move on to the Brooklyn Public Library system. "This is critical to understanding the history of New York, and we wanted to make sure as many people saw it as possible," said Louise Mirrer, president of the New-York Historical Society. "Queens is a really interesting case, because a lot of Queens and Brooklyn was farmland," Mirrer said. "If you look at census data, there were large numbers of slaves working those farms." According to some estimates, at its 1790 peak there were 2,309 slaves in Queens, as well as 1,036 freed blacks. The exhibit depicts, in nine illustrated panels, the path of slavery in New York from a 1659 letter from Dutch officials to colony governor Peter Stuyvesant encouraging the use of forced labor through the American Revolution and the end of slavery in New York in 1827. Full Story:


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