Blending historical narrative with ideas for engaging young people as historians and thinkers, Alan J. Singer introduces readers to the truth about the history of slavery in New York State, and, by extension, about race in American society. Singer’s perspective as a historian and a former secondary school social studies teacher offers a wealth of new information about the past and introduces people and events that have been erased from history.
New York, both the city and the state, were centers of the abolitionist struggle to finally end human bondage; however, at the same time, enslaved Africans built the infrastructure of the colonial city. The author shows teachers how to develop ways to teach about this very difficult topic. He shows them how to deal with racial preconceptions and tensions in the classroom and calls upon teachers and students to become historical activists, conduct research, write reports, and present their findings to the public.