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Hudson River Valley Review, A Journal of Regional Studies. Vol. 34, No.1, Autumn 2017. To read the full review click here.
“Susan Stessin-Cohn and Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini have supplied readers with an enlightening and impressively large compilation of newspaper notices (over 500) charting the presence of African-American fugitive slaves during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in the counties lining the Hudson River. Their book follows the model provided by Graham Hodges in Pretends to Be Free: Runaway Slave Advertisements from Colonial and Revolutionary New York and New Jersey (1994) by presenting advertisements placed by slaveholders seeking to recover black escapees from bondage. The ads are drawn from the area’s local press—e.g., the Albany Gazette, Catskill Packet, Goshen Repository, Northern Sentinel, Poughkeepsie Journal, and Ulster Plebeian—as well as newspapers published in New York City and in neighboring states. This reflects the destinations of the valley’s fugitives: New York State’s free black enclaves, Canada, and New England.
The foreword by A.J. Williams-Myers offers an interpretive context for the notices that reveal much about slavery in the valley, slave resistance as a whole, and the biographies of individual escapees. Readers learn of the institution’s cruelty through descriptions of maimed runaways and those identifiable by metal collars. References to mulattos suggest the frequency of miscegenation, some or much of which was undoubtedly involuntary on the part of slaves. Many slaves were bilingual in English and Low Dutch and skilled—carpenters, barbers, shoemakers. Most fugitives were in their twenties and two-thirds of them were male. One wonders, though, how these generalizations compare with similar data for other regions and the nation.
Stessin-Cohn and Hurlburt-Biagini have constructed a very useful appendix. There are tables providing details and numbers for points made in the foreword. There is a glossary with definitions of arcane, anachronistic terms found in the notices. One table summarizes the types of material goods escapees carried with them or wore and 118 The Hudson River Valley Review the counties from which they escaped; another is labeled “Key Points of New York’s Emancipation Acts” from 1799 to 1817. …”
CSPAN, May 22, 2017
Columbia-Greene Media/Register-Star, March 2, 2017
WNYT New Channel 13, January 22, 2017
On January 12, we had the pleasure of being interviewed by Phil Bayly for WNYT NewsChannel 13. Click to view the video.
Hudson Valley Magazine, January 10, 2017
The LeFevre Family Association, Autumn 2016
Associated Press, September 26, 2016
Almanac Weekly, September 23, 2016