THE CIRCLE ASSOCIATION'S
African American History of Western New York
We present an ongoing project to study the historical presence of Blacks in Buffalo, Rochester, Jamestown, Syracuse, Geneva, Ithaca, Corning, Niagara Falls, Canandaigua, Fredonia, and, in general, western New York State from 1700 to 2000. HISTORY
The first African slaves brought to this country were sold from a Dutch vessel at Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. There were 20 and from 1619 until 1776 there were 300,000 Africans imported. By 1860 there were nearly 4 million people in the U.S. of African heritage.
Though the continent was invaded and had been occupied by Europeans for nearly 200 years. 18th century western New York was relatively untouched by non-Indians. I have found no records of non-Indians settling the area prior to 1770. There is evidence that the first non-Indian settling in the Buffalo area was a Black man. Of course the first African Americans settling the area certainly were well aware that slavery of their people was embedded within the European settled continent, and many gave extreme support to the Underground Railroad. Many of the key persons discussed, below, from 1800 to 1880, are key because their efforts in the Abolitionist Movement; for example, Frederick Douglass. It is particularly noteworthy that there were black businessmen (with white clients) and intellectuals well before the state of New York abolished slavery.
As the area group in importance nationally important events occurred in the area such as the first Buffalo Anti-slavery Conference in 1843, and the famed Niagara Conference in 1905. From the beginning of the 19th century well past the mid 20th century, black churches (Methodist and Baptist) and social groups (the Masons and the Elks) were nearly the sole source for community leadership, even though they were fragments of white religious and social groups infused with remnants of African culture. ... to be continued, especially with your help.
Opened 4/96, visitors.
(above) William H. Johnson's Underground Railroad
to history of western new york
Reform, Religion and the Underground Railroad in Western New York
University of Rochester Underground Railroad.
National Park Service's Aboard the Underground Railroad site
Underground Railroad in New York
John Henrik Clarke Library in Cornell University
History of Buffalo
Histories of Western New York
The African American Heritage in Buffalo and Western New York.
Erasmus Briggs And The History of the Original Town of Concord (and Collins North Collins, Sardinia),1893.
visitors to the African American History of Western New York.