Welcome to the Amistad Commission

In 2005, New York’s Legislature created an Amistad Commission to review state curriculum regarding the slave trade. All people should know of and remember the human carnage and dehumanizing atrocities committed during the period of the African slave trade and slavery in America and consider the vestiges of slavery in this country. It is vital to educate our citizens on these events, the legacy of slavery, the sad history of racism in this country, and on the principles of human rights and dignity in a civilized society.

Welcome to the Amistad Commission’s Roster of Expert Volunteers

Pursuant to the New York Arts & Cultural Affairs Law, Article 57B, New York State’s Amistad Commission is charged with researching and surveying the extent to which the African slave trade, American slavery and its aftermath and legacy are included in the curricula of New York State schools. The Commission makes recommendations to the Governor and Legislature regarding the implementation of education and awareness programs to educate students enrolled in the schools of the state of New York about the history of African Americans in the United State and their significant contributions to our county.

To further enrich the learning opportunities regarding the African American experience, we are asking for volunteers who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise across New York State as it relates to the African American experience.

If you or your organization is interested in being listed on the Commission’s Volunteer Roster of Experts and willing to have your information published on the Commission’s website, please complete and submit a Professional Profile at the following VOLUNTEER ROSTER OF EXPERTS FORM.

All volunteers will be subject to a screening process for inclusion in the Roster.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this webpage is intended to facilitate educational opportunities for K-12 students across New York State pursuant to New York Arts & Cultural Affairs Law, Article 57B. The Amistad Commission does not endorse the volunteers identified on the Roster of Expert Volunteers and bears no responsibility for the activities and actions of the volunteers. Additionally, the Amistad Commission does not assume any liability of the accuracy, completeness and adequacy of the information. The information presented is with the sole aim of encouraging individuals and organizations that support the work of the Amistad Commission to volunteer; the Amistad Commission does not warrant the actions taken by volunteers and cannot accept liability for any resulting injury or damage based on this information.

Thank you for your commitment and dedication to supporting the work of the Amistad Commission.


UNDERGROUND RAILROAD HISTORY PROJECT 2015 CONFERENCE: BREAKING FREE: CIVIL WAR, EMANCIPATION, AND BEYOND - April 17-19, 2015 -Russell Sage College in Troy, NY & at the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence in Albany, NY

Gateway to Freedom: The History of the Underground Railroad by Eric Foner Excerpt: New Book Documents Courage of Harriet Tubman and Underground Railroad

Marchers on the way to Montgomery as families watch from their porches

NYC-ARTS: Black History Month 2015

New-York Historical Society Museum & Library: Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein (January 16, 2015 - April 19, 2015)

Marchers on the way to Montgomery as families watch from their porches
Marchers on the way to Montgomery as families watch from their porches


AFTER AFROPOLITAN Exhibition Call For Submissions
The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute with AfriPOP! and Weeksville – Due date- November 21, 2014

The After Afropolitan curatorial team invites artists of all genres to submit work for consideration for the exhibition, presented by CCCADI in partnership with AfriPOP! and Weeksville Heritage Society, slated for opening in February 2015 at the Weeksville Heritage Society.

First Annual African and African Diaspora Studies Conference at College of Staten Island, The City University of New York, October 9 and 10, 2014 (pdf)

The African-American Migration Experience- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Powerful Decade-Long Photo Project Retraces the Underground Railroad at Night by
Photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales

The Programme of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade and UNESCO Invite You To A Panel Discussion on Teaching and Learning about the Transatlantic Slave Trade (pdf) on Friday, September 5, 2014 from 10:00 am to 1:00 p.m. RSVP Required.

Seneca Village

Seneca Village may possibly have been Manhattan's first stable community of African American property owners. Located from 81st to 89th Streets between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in what is now a section of Central Park, the village is important part of the history of New York City.


CUNY-TV’s “Independent Sources” recently took a look at Seneca Village in “Lost and Found New York”




Return of the Red Tails

On Saturday, May 24, 2010, Wings of Eagles Discovery Center was proud to host the Return of the Red Tails event that featured a legendary group of African Americans, the Tuskegee Airmen. Nine members of the Airmen were able to attend including Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, a Tuskegee Airman and Red Tail Squadron commander, who was the gala's keynote speaker.

A special exhibit showcasing the history of the Tuskegee Airmen was on display for the event

A special exhibit showcasing the history of the Tuskegee Airmen was on display for the event

The Tuskegee Airmen arrive at Wings of Eagles Discovery Center

The Tuskegee Airmen arrive at Wings of Eagles Discovery Center

A P-51 Mustang restored to look like one the Tuskegee Airmen would have flown (including the red tail!) did a fly-over during the event.

A P-51 Mustang restored to look like one the Tuskegee Airmen would have flown (including the red tail!) did a fly-over during the event.
For more photos, go to: http://www.wingsofeagles.com/?p=3272

For Young Readers:

A Free Woman on God's EarthA Free Woman On God's Earth: The True Story of Elizabeth Mumbet Freeman, The Slave Who Won Her Freedom
By Jana Laiz and Ann-Elizabeth Barnes

A Free Woman On God's Earth is a juvenile biography for ages 8 and up containing over 40 illustrations. It is the story of Elizabeth Mumbet Freeman, the enslaved African woman who had the courage and conviction to speak what was in her heart, suing for her freedom in a Massachusetts court of law. In gaining her own freedom, she set the stage for the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts in 1783. An engaging history that fulfils the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for third, fourth and fifth grades in the categories of Local Biography, Local History, Revolutionary War Heroes.




Pursuit of FreedomAbolitionist Brooklyn -

Pursuit of Freedom at the Brooklyn Historical Society




Learn more about African-American History Month Exhibits during the month of February:
The Amistad Commission and New York Department of State Celebrate African-American History Month

Audio Recording: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Address to the New York State Civil War Commission:








New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War Online Exhibit

Civil War Soldier. J. Oldershaw, photographer, 1864. Photograph print on carte-de-visite. Beinecke Library, Yale University.

Civil War Soldier. J. Oldershaw, photographer, 1864.
Photograph print on carte-de-visite. Beinecke Library, Yale University.

For Young Readers:

Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man
By Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin

Stolen into Slavery Book Cover image

As featured in the motion picture film of the same name.
The original adult version of same title was written by
Solomon Northup, a free African American and native of
Saratoga, New York.

Wings of Eagles Discovery Center


Tuskegee Airmen Exibit

Featured Exibits:

Bessie Coleman (1893-1926)

The Tuskegee Airmen










The Tuskegee Airmen, one of the exhibits
honoring the African-American impact
in World War II at the Wings of Eagles
Discovery Center

Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region

The 13th Annual Underground Railroad Public History Conference Organized by Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc. – April 11-13, 2014 at Russell Sage College, Troy, NY

In 2014 Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region has chosen to focus on the role of slavery as the impetus for the Underground Railroad movement, and to investigate the legacy of slavery against which the Underground Railroad movement is interpreted and made relevant for us today. The enslavement of African descended people in the Americas, and the United States in particular, has contributed to the historical and cultural setting in which we find ourselves.

We invite proposals that address reinterpretations, teaching, new research, and other ways that illustrate, address and celebrate the story historically and contemporarily. Also welcomed are proposals related to the Underground Railroad Movement, enslavement, or emancipation in the United States, and the relevance for us today.

For more information: http://undergroundrailroadhistory.org/category/annual-conference/

Slavery Abolition Freedom

Abolitionists, the Underground Railroad and the Struggle for Freedom in New York
Sunday, September 22, 2013 1-2:30 PM. New York State Museum

Courtesy of the Albany Institute of History & Art

Sanford Robinson Gifford poster announcing a speech by Civil Rights Leader
Sanford Robinson Gifford on National Guard Duty for the Union A poster announcing a speech by Civil Rights Leader and Founder of the National Council of Negro Women Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune

Courtesy of the New York State Military Museum

Brady Harper’s Ferry photo unidentified soldier's photo
Brady Harper’s Ferry Unidentified African-American from the Civil War

Courtesy of the Rensselaer County Historical Society

Liberty Street Presbyterian Church / Rev. Henry Highland Garnet
Liberty Street Presbyterian Church / Rev. Henry Highland Garnet

Rev. Henry Highland Garnet  was an important figure in the abolitionist movement.  Henry Highland Garnet was born into slavery in Maryland in 1815.  When his master dies in 1824, his family escaped from slavery and ends up in New York City in 1826.  In 1840, Garnet travels to Troy to become a teacher in a school for African-American children.  In 1842, Garnet was ordained by the Troy Presbytery and he becomes the first minister of the Liberty Street Presbyterian Church, an African-American congregation. 

After this, Rev. Garnet becomes active in the anti-slavery movement.  He was involved with the American Anti-Slavery society.  He published and distributed a small paper The Clarion, whose objective was "to aid the Negro in all aspects of his emancipation." With William G. Allen, also of Troy, he produced the periodical The National Watchman. Unfortunately, no copies of The Clarion exist.

AME Zion Church Board
A.M.E. Zion Church Board & Trustees   /   Draft Riot Proclamation   /   A.M.E. Zion Church

RCHS has a letter from Mr. Charles Gidney, in the group photograph, to the Mayor describing the horrors of the draft riots that occurred in Troy.

Courtesy of the Buffalo State University

Uncrowned Queens Archives

New York State Museum


An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War
Saturday, September 22, 2012 - Sunday, September 22, 2013
Exhibition Hall
For more information: http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/exhibits/special/CivilWar.cfm




I Shall Think of You Often: The Civil War Story of Doctor and Mary Tarbell
Saturday, March 30, 2013 - Sunday, September 22, 2013
South Lobby
For more information: http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/exhibits/special/tarbell.cfm




Black Capital: Harlem in the 20s – http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/exhibits/longterm/harlem.html


The Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project (MHAHP) is a non-profit group created in 2006 to bring together researchers, educators, community leaders, and members of the public to:

  • Conduct and synthesize research on the history of antislavery in the Mid-Hudson Valley, with special emphasis on the Underground Railroad
  • Interpret this history and share these interpretations with a wide array of residents and visitors in our area, with particular attention to students and youth; and
  • Place this local history in the broader contexts of racial slavery in the New World, the African-American experience, and antislavery legacies today, including the impact of this historic grassroots movement on subsequent struggles for racial and social justice.

Read more at: www.mhantislaveryhistoryproject.org

Underground Railroad History Project researches and preserves the local and national history of the anti-slavery and Underground Railroad movements, their international connections, and their legacies to later struggles; it engages in public education and dialogue about these movements and their relevance to modern society. Find out more at: www.UndergroundRailroadHistory.org