Author Archive for Peter Bunten – Page 2

Calling All History Teachers !!!

This summer the National Endowment for the Humanities is funding two teacher training programs in New York around the issue of slavery.

Abolition and the Underground Railroad

July 7-26, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

This three-week NEH summer seminar will focus on the history of the Underground Railroad in North America from the origins of slavery to the Reconstruction Era. Class time will be spent on intensive study of key primary and secondary texts on the seminar topics. There will be daily pedagogical sessions on classroom application of the areas of study. Field trips will travel to Auburn, Seneca Falls, Rochester, New York City, Albany, and North Elba … then to Northampton, Massachusetts, and Middelbury, Vermont. Guest speakers will include Manisha Sinha, Judith Wellman and Leigh Fought. The seminar director is Graham Hodges, the George Dorland Langdon, Jr. Professor of History at Colgate and author of David Ruggles: A Radical Black Abolitionist and The Underground Railroad in New York City (UNC Press 2010) among many other books.

Information about the seminar and how to apply can be found here: underground-railroad. 

Slavery in the Colonial North

July 14-20, Philipsburg Manor, Tarrytown, NY

Participants in the institute will explore both the institutional and personal sides of enslavement, understanding how slavery emerged under Dutch law and expanded and became codified under English rule. The institute will present the institution of slavery as interwoven throughout colonial development, as opposed to its usual compartmentalization in the mid-19th century American South. The institute will draw heavily on its location at Philipsburg Manor, a site which, for 20 years, has been interpreting the story of slavery in the colonial north through the stories of individuals who lived there. Participants will explore this history as well as discuss how to introduce this important but difficult subject in today’s classroom. A major focus of the institute will be on creating a curriculum unit that pulls directly from the institute’s resources, so that teachers can apply the institute’s content to their classroom. Participants will be able to grapple with this vital, complex subject in a constructive and meaningful way, thereby gaining not only a wealth of historical information but also the skills necessary to help their students engage with this subject.

The program is led by Dr. Jacqueline Simmons and Dr. Leslie Harris. Information on how to apply can be found here:



“400 Years of Perseverance” is 2019 Theme for Black History Month


The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History [ASALH] has created a new page on its website —- 400 Years of Perseverance: 1619-2019 – to note the 400th anniversary of the introduction of slavery into America and the long history of struggle for equal rights. In August of 1619, the first African men and women arrived by ship in Virginia. Some of thembecame part of the settlement at Jamestown, feted as a cornerstone of the history of the United States. Thus began a four-hundred-year struggle for equal rights and opportunity for African-Americans, a struggle which continues to the present day.

The ASALH site notes: Forced migration of Africans to the Virginia colony in 1619 reminds us that they came before the Mayflower (1620). By this commemoration, ASALH pays tribute to 400 years of the creative industry of a people who were kidnapped and brought unwillingly to these shores and who, with resolute African spirit, fought for human dignity and equality.

This new web page also serves as a portal to enter local commemorations being planned around the United States to commemorate Black History Month. To access the page, go to

MHAHP to Co-Sponsor February 10th Program on Anniversary of the Missouri Compromise

A partnership of the Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project, the Office of the Dutchess County Historian, and the Stanford Historical Society is planning a 2019 commemoration of a seminal event in the history of our nation … and in the history of Dutchess County.

On February 13, 1819, Congressman James A. Tallmadge, Jr., a native of the town of Stanford here in Dutchess County, introduced an amendment to the bill to admit the Missouri Territory into the Union as a state. The amendment called for the prohibition of slavery within the state and sparked a debate across the country that nearly provoked a civil war in 1820. The Tallmadge Amendment, as it came to be known, and the ensuing Missouri Crisis constitute an almost-forgotten example of Dutchess County’s impact on national and international history.

We are organizing a commemorative event for Sunday, February 10, 2019, to explore Congressman Tallmadge’s stand against slavery and the long history of Dutchess County’s fight for the abolition of slavery.  The program will take place at BANGALLWORKS [site of the former Bangall Whaling Company] in the hamlet of Bangall, beginning at 1:30pm. Our presenter, Mr. John R. Van Atta, is a globally-recognized authority on the Missouri Crisis and the author of the critically-acclaimed volume Wolf by the Ears: The Missouri Crisis, 1819-1821.

The program is free. Parking will be available at the Red Devon 

Peter Bunten Addresses Marlborough Historical Society

Peter Bunten, current Chairman of the MHAHP, spoke before the Marlborough Historical Society this past Sunday, October 28th. The session was chaired by the MHS President, John Scott. Mr. Bunten spoke of the intersection of slavery, antislavery and the Underground Railroad in the Hudson Valley, with a focus on Dutchess County. This is the second address in the past year made by MHAHP members to Ulster County historical organization, and it is the hope of MHAHP to strengthen ties between Dutchess and Ulster County history enthusiasts.

Mr. Bunten’s remarks included a look at the development of the Dutchess County economy and the subsequent growth of slavery; the key role of “self-emancipation” play by enslaved people, as evidenced through “Runaway Slave Advertisements”; the evidence for the Underground Railroad in Dutchess County; and the important role of Antislavery societies and African-American churches in the fight for the abolition of slavery.

For more information, contact Mr. Bunten at 

Ken Moody, MHAHP Co-Founder, is Honored

F. Kennon Moody and his wife, Mary L. Moody, at a gala event on Wednesday, October 24th, were honored as the recipients of the First Rabbi Erwin Zimet Humanitarian Award. The Awards ceremony took place in Poughkeepsie, New York, at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. Several hundred people attended the ceremony. The Rabbi Erwin Zimet Humanitarian Award was established to recognize exceptional individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and contributions in philanthropic and human services. 

Ken is an ordained Methodist minister and holds a Ph.D. in History. He served in multiple roles for the Comprehensive Re-Integration Project of the South Forty Corporation of Poughkeepsie, a program which worked in the prisons to prevent convict recidivism. He has worked in several areas of education, including at Dutchess Community College, the Board of the Arlington School District, and as a Board member of the Boy Scouts of America. He and his wife, Mary, have played leading roles in raising money and awareness for the CROP Hunger Walk since 1977.

Ken is one of the founding members of the Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project, and over the years has played a leading role in the MHAHP’s program. He oversaw the research and writing for Slavery, Antislavery and the Underground Railroad: A Dutchess County Guide, published by the MHAHP in 2010.


Susan Stessin-Cohn to Speak at the Wallace Center

The Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project is proud to announce that Susan Stessin-Cohn will be speaking on her newest research and publication, “In Defiance: Runaways From Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley 1735-1831.” Ms. Stessin-Cohn is former professor of social studies education at SUNY New Paltz, and is currently the Historian for the Town of New Paltz, New York.

Her presentation will take place at the Wallace Center of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, in Hyde Park, New York, on Thursday, October 25th, beginning at 7:00pm. 

Susan is a recipient of the Bruce Dearstyne Award for excellence in the educational use of local government records; the New York State Archives Award for the best use of primary local documents in a curriculum in NYS; and the Pride of Ulster County Award for research on the Ulster County Poorhouse. She has created four teaching packets for the New York State Archives and the Ulster County Clerk’s Office. Her most resent publication, In Defiance: Runaways from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley, 1735-1831, is coauthored by Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini. Susan has appeared on C-Span as well as WYNT channel 13.

To be in bondage, to be owned by another human being, to be subjected to another person’s total will – that was the essence of slavery. The natural “fight or flight” instinct in every human being dominated the minds of all those who were treated as property. Humanizing an otherwise largely silent population, advertisements for fugitive slaves provide an exceptionally valuable window into black life in Early America—from the nature of the slave system and the master-slave relationship to fascinating glimpses into material culture and folk life.

Please join us for this fascinating and important glimpse inside the lives and minds of “runaways.”

Dutchess Antislavery Singers to Perform at the Hudson River Museum

Please join the Dutchess Antislavery Singers in The Power of Song,

an historic and contemporary music mash-up. 

On Sunday, March 26th, the Dutchess Antislavery Singers will join with Souls United of the Hudson Valley, an interfaith gospel choir, and DJ Nessdigital, who spins sounds of all genres. The performance will unfold as a conversation about social justice and civil rights from the 19th century to the present day. 

The concert will be held at the Hudson River Museum on Sunday, March 24th, at 4:00 pm. The museum is located at 580 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers. The concert is free with the price of admission to the museum. For more information, please visit the museum website at 



Help Us Commemorate Black History Month !!!

To commemorate Black History Month, the Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project is proud to present Michael

Lord, Associate Director of Content Development for Historic Hudson Valley, who will make a presentation on

Thursday, February 2nd at the Wallace Center at Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York. Titled

“An American Paradox: Enslavement on the Hudson,” an overview of Mr. Lord’s talk follows. The presentation

begins at 7:00pm in the auditorium of the Wallace Center and is free and open to the public.


Michael Lord to speak on Enslavement on the Hudson

To commemorate Black History Month, the Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project is proud to present Michael Lord, Associate Director of Content Development for Historic Hudson Valley, who will make a presentation on Thursday, February 2nd at the Wallace Center at Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York. Titled “An American Paradox: Enslavement on the Hudson,” an overview of Mr. Lord’s talk follows. The presentation begins at 7:00pm in the auditorium of  the Wallace Center. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Did you know …

  • That the first non-indigenous settler on Manhattan was a man of African descent?
  • That a plantation economy flourished up and down the banks of the Hudson River?
  • That the variety of African nationalities in colonial New York equaled or surpassed the number of European nationalities represented?
  • That enslaved individuals in New York actively resisted using both covert and overt means?

The Igbo of eastern Nigeria have a saying: “Until lions have their own historians, tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” Although the history of enslavement in the Hudson River Valley is well documented and researched, its existence and significance to the development of New York’s commercial and cultural development continues to be obscured, ignored, or misunderstood by many. Michael A. Lord, Associate Director of Content Development at Historic Hudson Valley, examines the issues, events, and individual choices surrounding enslavement in the Hudson Valley from the perspective of the enslaved. Using the historic site of Philipsburg Manor as a focal point, Lord’s presentation traces the development of slavery throughout the Hudson River Valley, and why this most-American of stories continues to be relevant.

A Magna cum laude graduate of Amherst College with degrees in History and Black Studies, Michael A. Lord was introduced to living history as a graduate student at the College of William and Mary. Michael came to Historic Hudson Valley in 1998 as the Associate Director for Reinterpretation, working to create and implement Philipsburg Manor’s story of northern colonial enslavement. Currently the Associate Director of Content Development, Michael trains HHV staff at all five historic sites to tell the story of the Hudson Valley. He also writes, produces, and directs museum theater  presentations for Historic Hudson Valley and other institutions.

       Philipsburg Manor

        Sleepy Hollow, NY


Please join us for this important presentation !!!

Dutchess Antislavery Singers to Perform at GHHN Conference

The Dutchess Antislavery Singers will perform “Songs For Freedom: Music in the Antislavery Cause,” at the annual conference of the Greater Hudson Heritage Network. The conference is being held on Friday, October 28th, at Locust Grove Estate in Poughkeepsie, NY. For information about the Conference, go to