Items tagged with 'Black History Month'

Garnet Douglass Baltimore, who was "as much of Troy as the monument"

troy prosepct park c 1910

Troy's Prospect Park was designed by Garnet Douglass Baltimore, RPI's first African-American graduate. This photo of the park is from around 1910.

Each Friday this February we've been highlighting people and stories from the Capital Region's history in honor of Black History Month.

Being named for two noted abolitionist heroes could be a little intimidating, but Garnet Douglass Baltimore was equal to his name.

This grandson of an escaped slave grew up to become RPI's first African-American graduate, a civil engineer, landscape architect, and the designer of Troy's Prospect Park.

(there's more)

James C. Matthews: New York State's first black judge, Albany Law graduate

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A sketch of James Campbell Matthews, New York State's first black law school grad and first black judge.

Each Friday this February we'll be highlighting people and stories from the Capital Region in honor of Black History Month.

In 1871 the first African-American to graduate from a New York State law school obtained his degree from Albany Law. Six years after the end of the Civil War, James Campbell Matthews was admitted to the New York Bar and became one of just a handful of black lawyers in the country -- and one of the most successful. Matthews went on to become the first African-American judge in New York State.

Oh, and in his first act as a lawyer, he may, or may not, have sued the city of Albany to desegregate its public schools. That part is tough to tell.

Almost a century and a half later, in a time when we're complacently led to believe that all the world's history is available on a device we can carry in our pocket, the search for the Matthews story is a reminder that there are many important stories that still remain virtually untold.

(there's more)

The Mohawk Colored Giants of Schenectady

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The 1931 Mohawk Giants. / photo courtesy of Schenectady County Historical Society

Each Friday this February we'll be highlighting people and stories from the Capital Region in honor of Black History Month.

In 1913 professional and semi-pro baseball teams dotted the landscape of the United States. Baseball historian Frank Keetz says every city and town and factory had an independent team. But in the Capital Region, there was only one black pro baseball team--the Mohawk Colored Giants of Schenectady. And they were good.

How good? They took on one of the best major league pitchers of the day, and won.

So why did they only last a season and a half? And how were they resurrected more than ten years later to become one of the most successful black indie teams in the country?

(there's more)

Stephen & Harriet Myers, station agents for Albany's portion of the Underground Railroad

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Abolitionist Stephen Myers and the Albany residence where some of his story played out.

Each Friday this February we'll be highlighting people and stories from the Capital Region in honor of Black History Month.

We live in a part of the country where history is part of the landscape. We pass historic markers on trips to the grocery store, and monuments on visits to the bank. Historic figures live on in the names of streets and cities and public buildings --- even if many no longer remember who they were, or what they did to earn the honor.

Take, for example, Stephen and Harriet Myers.

Chances are that you've driven past their former home on Livingston Avenue or the Albany middle school that bears their names, maybe without giving them a thought.

But this Capital Region couple has a remarkable, important story: The Myers played a key role in the history of the Underground Railroad in this area, helping hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of escaped slaves.

(there's more)

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