Slavery and Freedom in the Mid-Hudson Valley
Slavery is a stain on American history and a topic that can still bring about heated passion to this day. Most books on slavery in early American history look at wide areas or wide time frames. It is rare, and a joy, to get a book that looks at one specific area and one written by a historian as well. This book examines slavery, and freedom, in Dutchess County, New York, just up the Hudson River from New York City and before Albany. Michael Groth gives us an in-depth view of how slavery came to Dutchess County and how it evolved and grew across time as well as how slave owners responded the War for Independence and eventually New York’s law for emancipation. Professor Groth shows that life was not as easy for a rural slave as it was for an urban one, though neither was easy, and how after a slave earned their freedom life was still not easy.
For people wanting an close look at a particular region, this is an excellent book. The author takes the literature that covers the wide areas and helps bring it to bear on a specific county. In a way, it fills in a hole in the literature.
Michael E. Groth