Black History Month

Chris Bolt/WAER News

One Central New York man has his name woven through much of the history of the abolitionist movement…though many might not know him, or much about him.  In this installment of our Black History Month series C-N-Y: Unknown Underground we’ll visit Peterboro to learn a little more about Gerrit Smith.  Many of the anti-slavery activities and prominent figures in local history benefited greatly from his support. 

Chris Bolt/WAER News

Many people have walked or driven right past one of the most prolific passageways of the Underground Railroad in Syracuse…and never even knew it.  Why is an unassuming street corner in Syracuse really an important weigh station of history?

You very well might have driven past the intersection of East Genesee Street and Pine…maybe thousands of times.  Writer and local resident Madis Senner had a friend that lived just a few doors down.  

Delaware Elementary Teaches Black History with Living Wax Museum of Prominent Black Figures

Feb 17, 2017
Geani Sanabria/WAER News

Delaware Elementary School in Syracuse observed National African American parent Involvement Day  (NAAPID) Friday by presenting a living, historical wax museum of prominent black figures. The living museum brought figures such as Lebron James, Lauryn Hill, and Harriet Tubman to life with the help of students, teachers, and the community. Syracuse University master student Madeline Moore is a substitute teacher. She portrayed singer Lauryn Hill and says it's important for the students to learn about influential African  Americans.

Leo Tully/WAER News

Students at Ed Smith School kicked off Black History Month with a visit from a Civil Rights activist today.  Alice Moore was an active participant in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama as well as two other 1965 marches when she was 16 years-old.  Education Commissioner Mark Muhammad introduced the young crowd to Alice Moore and showed his appreciation for her contribution to advance the civil rights movement in America.

Jeddy Johnson / WAER News

Syracuse-area minority entrepreneurs often face additional barriers in the business world that can discourage them right at the start.  In our final installation celebrating Black History Month, we hear from one motivated business owner who is actually enjoying some success thanks to a program that breaks down barriers.

A Liverpool man decided it was time to launch his own business when he was laid off from his high-paying job at New Process Gear after 14 years.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Most Central New Yorkers know about the Jerry Rescue, where a group of Syracuse abolitionists freed  fugitive slave William "Jerry" Henry from jail and snuck him to Canada.  But chances are most don’t know the story behind Enoch Reed, one of the men who helped rescue Jerry in 1851.

Onondaga Historical Association Curator of History Dennis Connors says to understand the significance of the Jerry Rescue is to understand that those involved were committing a serious act of civil disobedience.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A Syracuse University scholar in the area of civil unrest among African Americans sees some similarities…and differences in protests from the civil rights era to the present.  In this next installment celebrating black history month, WAER News looks at the issues that lead to unrest, and if they’re being addressed.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A new exhibit at the ArtRage gallery in Syracuse features an Auburn man’s unique collection of ordinary household artifacts that forces people to confront racist stereotypes and distortions of African Americans.  William Berry, Jr. started collecting the racist memorabilia more than 40 years ago.  With help from traveling friends, his collection includes artifacts from all over the world.   Berry says the theme is the same...African Americans were seen and portrayed in a negative light.  

Lauren Winfrey/WAER News

  On a typical Syracuse Saturday Sydney Hutchinson-Mengel and her two-year-old son browse the children’s section of the local Barnes and Noble. Often just trying to keep his young mind stimulated, Hutchinson-Mengel makes it a point to visit the bookstore weekly. This Saturday, the voice of a narrator reading aloud was unexpected, but intriguing.

Ben Miller, WAER News

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