Friday, April 18, 2014

Slavery in My Backyard

Before we had kids, I used to cycle around the roads of the town of Caroline, southeast of Cornell University.  I was intrigued by a slave cemetery sign on Ellis Hollow Road.  Years later, we moved from Caroline, and when I returned, the sign was gone.

It turns out the sign was hit by a car.  With the excellent help of Barbara Kone, the Town of Caroline historian, after about three years the sign was finally back.

Many are surprised that New York State had slavery.  But there were Africa slaves in New Amsterdam in the seventeenth century, and only in 1827 was it legally abolished.

The slaves of Caroline were buried without lasting markers, so this historical sign is all that signifies their existence.  If it disappears, their memory might very well fade away. 
In fact, not even their names or owners are known.  According to Ms. Kone, “...we have no idea who they were. We believe they were the slaves of the Boyer and Jansens, who brought slaves to the Slaterville area.”

No comments:

Post a Comment