Author Archive for Peter Bunten – Page 3

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

Come Join the Annual Meeting of the MHAHP on April 25th

The Annual Meeting of the Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project will take place on Monday, April 25th, at the First Congregational – United Church of Christ, 265 Mill Street, in Poughkeepsie. The meeting begins at 7pm.

We invite everyone interested in the local history of Dutchess County and the surrounding Hudson Valley region to attend!! After a brief report of recent activities, the meeting will focus on planning projects for the coming year. Some of these are our speakers’ forum, ongoing research, building alliances with other history organizations, promoting the Dutchess Antislavery Singers, technical support for a planned new website, and fundraising.

Come join us!!! For more information, contact Peter Bunten at

DAS Lead Session on Using Music to Teach Antislavery History

Members of the Dutchess Antislavery Singers will be leading a session for teachers at this week’s annual conference of the National Council for History Education in Niagara Falls, New York. Rebecca Edwards and Peter Bunten will host the session, titled “‘Oh Freedom, Sweet Freedom’: Using Music to Teach U.S. Abolitionist History.” Between 1830 and 1865, American abolitionism grew into a powerful interracial movement for social justice. It crossed borders of race, gender, and religion and united Northern reformers with Southerners who bore witness in exile to their experiences. This session will provide teachers with an array of creative resources for teaching the movement’s history through its music, including lyrics, scores, illustrations, videos, and a dramatic script based on primary documents. Participants will brainstorm ways to adapt these materials to diverse classrooms, and the session will end with a brief performance.

Edwards is the leader of the Dutchess Antislavery Singers and Bunten is current chair of the Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project. The DAS is one of the programs sponsored by the MHAHP.

Next MHAHP Meeting Set for March 28th

Please join us at the upcoming meeting of the Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project. The meeting will be held on Monday, March 28th, from 7 to 8:30pm. We meet at the First Congregational – United Church of Christ, 269 Mill Street, Poughkeepsie.

A detailed agenda will be posted shortly. At this meeting we will focus on detailing plans for the remainder of 2016 — for our lecture series, Dutchess Antislavery Singers, research, joint projects with other organizations, and updated publicity. We will have a status report on our application for non-profit status.

Please join us!! The meeting is open to everyone interested in the work of the Project. We welcome new members and participants. If you have any questions, please contact Peter Bunten, MHAHP Chairman, at

MHAHP Sponsors Lecture on Slavery and the Churches

The MHAHP is pleased to sponsor a lecture by the Reverend Chuck Kramer, Rector of St. James Church in Hyde Park. The lecture will be held at the Wallace Center of the FDR Library in Hyde Park, on Sunday, April 10, at 2pm. Fr. Kramer’s topic is “Slavery and the Church in New York.” Opposing views of slavery produced internecine fighting throughout New York State, not least among the religious communities. Fr. Kramer will discuss the various aspects of these conflicts, with emphasis on how they played out in the Hudson Valley.

Fr. Kramer was born in Illinois. He earned his BA at Indiana University with a double major in German and Journalism, and an MA in teaching. He attended the General Theological Seminary in New York City and was ordained a priest in 1990. After serving churches in North Carolina and New York, he came to St. James in 1997. Fr. Chuck writes a weekly column for the Hudson Valley News, touching on issues of the day. A collection of these has just been compiled and published, in “God, Life and Everything.” You can find information about St. James Church here.

We are grateful to the Wallace Center for hosting this event, and especially to Cliff Laube for his assistance. For information on the Wallace Center and FDR Library, click here.

Please mark your calendar to join us for this important presentation!


Reminder: Race Unity Circle Meeting Tomorrow Night

Please join us tomorrow night, February 24th, at the meeting of the Race Unity Circle, featuring a lecture by Rebecca Edwards on the history of slavery and antislavery activities in the Hudson Valley. This is the last of a series of meetings celebrating Black History Month. The meeting takes place at the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center, 317 Main Street, Poughkeepsie, from 7-9pm.

New Databases Tracking Identities of Freedom Seekers

There is important and exciting work being done to uncover the lives and stories of the hundreds of thousands of enslaved men, women and children who took the ultimate step of resistance by running away from their owners. New databases — Runaway Slaves in Britain and Freedom on the Move – are compiling comprehensive records on the names and lives of these freedom seekers. For more information on these and related efforts to uncover this lost history, click on the link below.


Rebecca Edwards to Address New

Race Unity Circle Organization

Rebecca Edwards, Eloise Ellery Professor of History at Vassar College, will address the next meeting of the Race Unity Circle, being held at the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center on Wednesday, February 24th. Ms. Edwards, co-founder and current Secretary of the MHAHP, will speak on the topic of “Slavery and Abolition in the Hudson Valley.” This meeting is the last of four during February celebrating held by the Circle to celebrate Black History Month.

The Race Unity Circle, formed recently, describes its mission as follows:

“The Race Unity Circle grew out of an urgent call to action felt by a few members of the Baha’i Faith in response to the news coming out of Ferguson, Missouri. Though started by Baha’is, the Circle quickly became multi-cultural and multi-faith.

“We believe that all people are members of one race: the Human Race. The elimination of racism from our communities is not just an aspiration; it is a spiritual imperative that requires sustained, persistent action.

“THEREFORE: we resolve that the Race Unity Circle will organize events and activities, individually and collectively, that support the vision of the Oneness of Humanity and collaborate with other organizations and individuals who do the same.”

The meeting begins at 7pm. The Heritage Center is located at 317 Main Street. Please join us!!

UGR Consortium at NYS Caucus

MHAHP In Presentation on Promoting  Underground Railroad Consortium 

Joins Other Coalition Organizations in Workshop at Black & Puerto Rican Caucus

The Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State (URCNYS) presented a workshop for the 45th Annual Legislative Conference of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc. in Albany on Saturday, February 13. The workshop was sponsored by Assemblyman David F. Gantt of Rochester and was facilitated by Nick Thony from Gantt’s legislative office in Albany.  The 2016 conference theme was Restoring Faith & Justice: In Pursuit of Empowering Our Communities. The twenty-two partners of the newly incorporated Consortium were represented by a panel: Mary Liz Stewart, the leader and Co-Chair in the establishment of the Consortium, and a Co-Founder of the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc., presented a PowerPoint outlining the rationale, mission, and vision of URCNYS, as well as the partner locations across the state. Peter Bunten (Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project in Poughkeepsie NY), Jacqueline Madison (North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association and The North Star Underground Railroad Museum in Ausable Chasm NY), Paul Stewart (Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence in Albany NY), and Dorothy Willsey (Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark and the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in Peterboro NY) provided information on the activities and the ongoing work at partner sites. Thony shared David and Ruth Anderson’s description of the AKWAABA: The Heritage Associates, Inc. program in Rochester NY.

The MHAHP is one of the 22 founding members of the Coalition. The mission of the Underground Railroad Consortium is to advance and promote New York State’s  historic role in the Underground Railroad movement. For more information on the Consortium, contact Mary Liz Stewart at For information on MHAHP’s role in the Consortium, contact Peter Bunten at