Category: Hudson NY

Slavery in Hudson and nearby – continued

My earlier post on this topic was picked up by Gossips of Rivertown. That brought a reference from David Marston to a new source: Radical Cartography where the results of the 1790 Census (the first census) provided further data on slavery in our region and elsewhere. Here are a few examples. In 1790:

  • Hudson – total population of 2,584 with 2,364 free whites, 27 free non-white, and 193 slaves – 7% of the population.
  • Kinderhook – total population of 4,666 with 4,027 free whites, 6 free non-whites and 638 slaves – 14% of the population.
  • Rhinebeck – total population of 3,649 with 3,175 free whites, 66 free non-white and 421 slaves – 11% of the population.
  • Catskill – total population 1,885 with 1,667 free whites, 8 free non-white and 365 slaves – 15% of the population.

It is clear that though slavery in the North was not the dominant economic engine that was true of the South, slavery was present and visible on a day-to-day basis.

Click on image to go to Radical Cartography and the interactive map.

Slavery in Hudson and Columbia Cty NY

Students presenting their work at HAL.

It is doubtless a fact that most Northerners, including the writer, think that slavery in America was a Southern problem. In the North slavery was an occasional institution, or so we think.

A week ago on Thursday 6/8/17 I attended a program at the library, “Abolition and Women’s Rights in Local History” presented by the students of Hudson Community Schools’ Writing Center at the Hudson High School. More about this project here.

“James W. C. Pennington” by Cecille Ruiz – click to see full size image

The bulk of the program revolved around presentations by the students of their research and creative projects about slavery, abolitionists and women’s rights activists of the 1830s-1850s in upstate NY. The word and image projects are on display in the library now.

Slavery in Hudson and Columbia County

But, I want to focus on just one aspect here. The program opened with readings of notices of runaways slaves from the Hudson River Valley. Many were notices from slave owners in Hudson and Columbia County dating roughly from 1795 to 1840. The source of these notices is In Defiance: runaways from slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley, 1735-1831 ((Stessin-Cohn, Susan, and Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini. In Defiance: Runaways from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley, 1735-1831, 2016.))  It is available in the library.

One hint about the deep history of slavery in our region is the fact that over 50% of the runaways spoke both Dutch and English.1  This is clearly an indication that they lived here long enough to learn two languages.

Here are a few samples from the book: (click on images for full size)

 

  1. p324. Stessin-Cohn, Susan, and Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini. In Defiance: Runaways from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley, 1735-1831, 2016. []

Concrete Dumping – Redux

I stopped by the 2nd St. site where an F.H. Stickles Concrete truck was seen a couple weeks ago dumping waste concrete on public land next to a stream a bare 100 yards from the Hudson River. This inspired to earlier posts here: Concrete Dumping – more than a local Hudson nuisance and Dumping Concrete: a law of capitalism in action – a local example.

New signs have appeared to discourage this unfortunate practice. Presumably the city put them up?

Dumping Concrete: a law of capitalism In action – a local example

Thanks to GossipsOfRivertown for the image.

The May 3rd post “Unbelievable” on our favorite local blog GossipsOfRivertown.blogspot.com caught our attention. This F.H.Stickles concrete truck dumping waste concrete next to a stream running into the Hudson River is a local demonstration of one of the central laws of capitalism.

For more pictures of this incident go here.

Every company seeks to get someone else to pay for as many of its costs of doing business as possible. The laws of capitalism require this. If all of Stickles’ competitors are similarly avoiding the costs of disposing of their waste concrete they must do likewise. Otherwise their cost of doing business would be higher. In the short term their profits will be lower. In the longer term they will be forced out of business because they will have to charge higher prices. This is so regardless of the moral values or sense of community of the owners of F.H.Stickles. This how capitalism works.

Concrete Dumping – more than a local Hudson nuisance

Thanks to GossipsOfRivertown for the image.

Carole Osterink reported in her post “Unbelievable” on May 3rd about the dumping of waste concrete by F.H.Stickles Concrete on a site off north 2nd Street adjacent to a small stream that drains into the Hudson River perhaps a hundred yards away. 

This practice is in violation of state and Federal regulations of concrete washouts of concrete trucks and other equipment used to deliver concrete at constructions sites. A quick internet search found EPA guidelines as well as NYS regulations about the handling of this hazardous waste.

Here is more from engineers in Wisconsin: “Why concrete washout is harmful to the environment

Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) Review – Rob Bujan

Dan Udell videotaped a presentation on the US healthcare system by Rob Bujan on 3/25/17. I could not attend so I watched Dan’s YouTube video – 

 The discussions towards the end of this presentation (about minute 50) concerning single-payer systems would have been more vigorous and perhaps useful with a little international context. We live in a world where every other developed country has universal healthcare and has had for decades. So, there is plenty of experience with a range of different structures to deliver healthcare to every person as a right.

What’s Happenin’ at HAL??

A quick run down the screen on your smartphone reveals the range of activities at the Hudson Area Library. We won’t mention here all of the other groups using the Community Room for their meetings and events. Then take a look at the January ’17 E-Newsletter at the bottom.

January ’17 E-Newsletter

Open the news letter here.

BTW – you can sign up for the HAL e-newsletter here.

 

Hudson Provides a Positive Sign for Democracy

img_1849Amidst all of the hand wringing about the Presidential election, both its process and outcome,  we can note that Hudson conducted a little experiment in democratic direct action that at the local level will likely produce interesting positive results in the future.

The Transformation of Libraries

Wilcox Public Library, Wilcox AZ

Wilcox Public Library, Wilcox AZ

For centuries private and institutional libraries have been about the storage and retrieval of information on paper. They were hushed spaces where stern librarians guarded the paper and maintained the decorum. Even public libraries bent towards this model. But, today, public libraries throughout the US, in fact around the world, have transformed themselves in the span of fifteen to twenty years. They embraced the internet, have become a key access point, and expanded into a place for engagement, learning, and creation. This transformation occurred based on the values held by libraries and their users, direct input from users, and the library staff’s guidance and experimentation.

(download a PDF version of this essay here)

Accessibility in New Linear Park in Hudson

Ever since the completion earlier this year of the linear park between Warren and State streets (beginning across the street from the Hudson Opera House)  I have mostly marvelled at the ungainly sight of the access ramps. Finally last night I walked from State to Warren along this park. What struck me was the walkway which is composed of raised squares roughly 4 inches on a side spaced approximately 3/4 inch apart with loose gravel between. It is hard to imagine a wheelchair making its way along this surface.

Is This ADA Accessible?image

image

US quarter for scale – 1 inch diameter.

A quick search for ADA guidelines brought up this picture with the notes: “Cobblestones and other rough surfaces make wheelchair travel difficult and uncomfortable….. Avoid materials or construction methods that create bumpy and uneven surfaces in areas and along routes required to be accessible.”1image

  1. http://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards/guide-to-the-ada-standards/chapter-3-floor-and-ground-surfaces []