This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Kathleen G. Velsor, author of the book The Underground Railroad on Long Island: Friends in Freedom.
Bio – Kathleen G. Velsor
Dr. Kathleen Gaffney Velsor is an associate professor in the School of Education at the State University of New York Old Westbury. She earned an undergraduate degree in fine arts and education from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, and received her master’s degree in educational administration from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and her doctorate in educational research from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. She has received numerous grants to research the Quaker involvement in the Underground Railroad on Long Island, most recent among them an education grant from the Long Island Community Foundation to establish the Underground Teaching Partnership to build community through interdisciplinary social studies workshops for schoolteachers.
From the arrival of the Quakers in the seventeenth century to the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation, Long Island played an important role in the Underground Railroad’s work to guide slaves to freedom. In Old Westbury, the Post family established a major stop on the freedom trail with the help of an escaped Virginia slave. In Jericho, families helped escaping slaves to freedom from the present-day Maine Maid Inn. Elias Hicks helped free 191 slaves himself and worked to create Underground Railroad safe houses in many northeastern cities. Some former slaves even established permanent communities across the island. Visit the safe houses many of which are still standing today and explore the journey of runaway slaves on Long Island.
Publisher: The History Press (2013)
Trade Paperback; 144 pages; with end notes, bibliography, index and BxW photos & illustrations.
The Underground Railroad on Long Island: Friends in Freedom is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.
During the interview Kathleen and I discussed the long involvement of Quakers on Long Island with the anti-slavery movement. Around the time of the American Revolution Quakers started to become uncomfortable with the idea of any human being held in bondage. In the Long Island area Quakers were lead with the strong Leadership of Elias Hicks who rallied other Quakers to join his anti-slavery cause. His followers were called Hicksite Quakers. Hicksites first manumitted their own slaves. As time passed they developed the network of the Underground Railroad and worked toward helping enslaved people to freedom as well as educating them in reading and writing and providing a trade.
Links mentioned during the interview:
- Online version of the Journal of the Life and Religious Labours of Elias Hicks on Archive.org.
- Digitized collection of the Post Family Papers Project at the University of Rochester, NY.
- Books by Marjory Post Abbott.
- Long Island Reads (New York) featuring Kathleen Veslor, April 2014
One copy of The Underground Railroad on Long Island: Friends in Freedom was given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of The History Press.
The winner is:
- Vonda McCrae of Virginia
Congratulations to our winner and thanks to The History Press for their generosity in donating the book!
Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!
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