Welcome to Staatsburgh State Historic Site's blog! Learn more about the Gilded Age home of Ruth and Ogden Mills!

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Enslaved & In Service I: Colonial New York

If you're just joining us, consider going to the Introduction for Enslaved & In Service: here! Missed our last post? Find "A New Beginning" here.

"Anyone who calls themselves an explorer is an invader to someone else - someone is always paying for the gilding"
Alice Proctor
The Whole Picture 

A slave auction in Dutch New York.
"Slave Auction, 1655" Howard Pyle, 1895.

Sojourner Truth - a contemporary
to Staatsburgh - has introduced slavery
in the Hudson Valley to generations
of Americans.

            Slavery in the Hudson Valley has been an overshadowed aspect of our local history. To better understand Staatsburgh founder Morgan Lewis’ connection to enslavement, it is important to start with how central slavery was to New Yorkers for generations. The entire system of Northern enslavement, from the international slave trade to the local manor houses, operated in parallel with American slavery elsewhere. Yet our contemporary ideas of American slavery fail to acknowledge the scope of bondage in the North. The Hudson Valley offers a window into a world beyond southern plantations to underscore how ubiquitous slavery was for New York colonists and early Republic citizens.[ii] Our collective image of slavery must include people of African descent enslaved in northern states, such as Sojourner Truth and countless others, and not just southern plantations.