"There Is A River: Social and economic contributions of Africans along the Hudson, from the Dutch Period to the American Revolution,” a lecture by Dr. A.J. Williams-Myers

  • Craig House & Deyo Hall 18 Broadhead Ave New Paltz, NY, 12561 United States

The cadence of the Mighty Hudson River in its rhythmic flow through its Valley to the Atlantic Ocean, becomes the backdrop to the historical rise of Hudson Valley society from the advent of European colonizers, tied to an inhumane economy defined by African enslavement, through to the American Revolution. It is a portraiture of two people: one the enslaver and the other the enslaved; a story of owner and the owned; a story of satanic relationships paraded under the cloak of Christian ethics; and ultimately, it is a story of family, that in spite of white, black, enslaver, the enslaved, came together in a fashion that lent itself to creating a culturally rich/mixed society, that by the time of the American Revolution. New York, because of enslaved labor, was one of England's most viable colonies. The portraiture, with the rhythmic flow of the River as its backdrop, positions the African center stage, shoulder to shoulder, and step for step with the European: in the economic growth of Hudson Valley colonial economy, as well as in both the French and Indian War and the Revolution.

Accompanying the lecture will be the premier presentation of our new “Fighting on Two Fronts” vignette, which portrays the story of Augustus Freer, an African American descendant of Huguenot Street who fought in World War II.

At a reception preceding the lecture, Dr. Williams-Myers will be signing copies of his books; his book Long Hammering: Essays on the Forging of an African American Presence in the Hudson River Valley to the Early Twentieth Century (Africa World Press, 1994) will be available for purchase.

The reception, catered by Bridge Creek Catering, will begin at 5 pm in the Craig House (18 Broadhead Avenue) where the public will have the opportunity for a behind-the-scenes glimpse of rarely seen collections in our strategic planning, interpretive, and programming offices.  The reception will be followed by the vignette and Dr. Williams-Myers’ lecture at Deyo Hall (6 Broadhead Avenue) at 6 pm.

Members $10 (lecture only) or $20 (with reception).
Seniors and military $12 (lecture only) or $22 (with reception).
General admission $15 (lecture only) or $25 (with reception).
SUNY New Paltz students may attend the lecture for free, or both the lecture and reception for $10.

Tickets may be purchased at the door upon arrival, but please RSVP here.

A.J. Williams-Myers holds the doctorate in history from the University of California at Los Angeles, with a concentration in African History.  He has been a consultant to a number of educational and research projects, among which have been Historical Hudson Valley, City College (CUNY), and the New-York Historical Society. He was also the historian attached to ITT Construction Company that was to build the Interpretive Center for the African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan. Among Dr. Williams-Myers publications are In Their Own Words: Voices from the Middle Passage (Africa World Press, 2009); On The Morning Tide African Americans, History and Methodology In The Historical Ebb And Flow of Hudson River Society (Africa World Press, 2003); and African Dreams To Tell Their Story Of Old New York (Kingston, New York, 2001: self published). He has also published extensively in national and international journals.

Dr. Williams-Myers teaches courses in the areas of African and African American history: Introduction to Africa, Contemporary Africa, History of South Africa, Black History I & II, History of Slavery in the Americas, Historical Terrorism Directed at Native Americans and African Americans, and Race and Racism in U. S. History.