Poughkeepsie Memorial of Acknowledgment

is creating memorials to remember the enslaved people of Poughkeepsie.

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     The memorial will recognize that slavery is very much a part of our area’s history, and that the atrocity of human enslavement contributed significantly to the growth and wealth of the Hudson Valley. The memorial will join several monuments and memorials throughout the city that commemorate the individuals and collectivities central to Poughkeepsie’s development. We believe that the under-told history of the enslaved of New York must be made more visible, and that memorials can serve to recognize, mourn, and educate, to encourage our communities both young and old to reckon with how the violent racist past relates to ongoing social and racial inequality in the present. Memorials can also foster important conversations and initiatives around how these legacies of the past pervade our contemporary institutions – our systems of education, housing and human welfare, economic opportunity, and criminal justice. Such conversations and initiatives can help lead to collective work for change, as well as recognition of the many contributions of African-Americans here in Poughkeepsie both historically and today.

     Slavery in our region can be traced back to the early 17th century Dutch settlements, as well as to mid-seventeenth century British rule beginning in that period, on lands once richly populated by Native American groups. Enslaved Africans accounted for between one-fifth and one-third of New York state, and 60% of New York’s enslaved human beings were in the Hudson Valley.2 One particularly prominent and well-memorialized family of the Hudson Valley, the Livingstons, were slaveowners and slave traders who came to possess vast areas of Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster counties. From the 17th through the early 19th centuries, the Livingston family’s prosperity greatly depended on slavery.
Too frequently children grow up in our community with very little to no knowledge that there were many enslaved people in New York through the early nineteenth century, that enslaved men and women in New York were often forced to buy their freedom through manumission, and that even after slavery was abolished in the state in 1827, slavery was critical to New York’s continued commercial growth and early industrialization. This lack of knowledge, of close examination, contributes to ongoing denial regarding the consequences of centuries of slavery and the pervasiveness of racism and inequality.

      We are an ad hoc group of concerned citizens who believe that everyone’s story should be told. We seek to build a strong constituency in Poughkeepsie toward support for this memorial project. This includes community input into the planning and implementation processes, as well as educational forums and more that place our efforts into context and that emphasize the need to examine the violent past of slavery and its legacies.
Tiers
Donors
$5 or more per month
     The memorial will recognize that slavery is very much a part of our area’s history, and that the atrocity of human enslavement contributed significantly to the growth and wealth of the Hudson Valley. The memorial will join several monuments and memorials throughout the city that commemorate the individuals and collectivities central to Poughkeepsie’s development. We believe that the under-told history of the enslaved of New York must be made more visible, and that memorials can serve to recognize, mourn, and educate, to encourage our communities both young and old to reckon with how the violent racist past relates to ongoing social and racial inequality in the present. Memorials can also foster important conversations and initiatives around how these legacies of the past pervade our contemporary institutions – our systems of education, housing and human welfare, economic opportunity, and criminal justice. Such conversations and initiatives can help lead to collective work for change, as well as recognition of the many contributions of African-Americans here in Poughkeepsie both historically and today.

     Slavery in our region can be traced back to the early 17th century Dutch settlements, as well as to mid-seventeenth century British rule beginning in that period, on lands once richly populated by Native American groups. Enslaved Africans accounted for between one-fifth and one-third of New York state, and 60% of New York’s enslaved human beings were in the Hudson Valley.2 One particularly prominent and well-memorialized family of the Hudson Valley, the Livingstons, were slaveowners and slave traders who came to possess vast areas of Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster counties. From the 17th through the early 19th centuries, the Livingston family’s prosperity greatly depended on slavery.
Too frequently children grow up in our community with very little to no knowledge that there were many enslaved people in New York through the early nineteenth century, that enslaved men and women in New York were often forced to buy their freedom through manumission, and that even after slavery was abolished in the state in 1827, slavery was critical to New York’s continued commercial growth and early industrialization. This lack of knowledge, of close examination, contributes to ongoing denial regarding the consequences of centuries of slavery and the pervasiveness of racism and inequality.

      We are an ad hoc group of concerned citizens who believe that everyone’s story should be told. We seek to build a strong constituency in Poughkeepsie toward support for this memorial project. This includes community input into the planning and implementation processes, as well as educational forums and more that place our efforts into context and that emphasize the need to examine the violent past of slavery and its legacies.

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Tiers
Donors
$5 or more per month