Author to give talk on black history in Goshen

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    Goshen-Robert Brennan, Village of Goshen Historian, will present "Black History in Goshen" in a special program to be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 27, at the 1841 Courthouse, 101 Main St. Brennan's presentation is part of the Goshen in Bloom program. The county historian's display of books, papers, and photos on black history will be on display at the 1841 Courthouse through mid-July. Brennan is the author of the three-volume "Genealogical History of Black Families of Orange County, New York," published by the Orange County Genealogical Society. He says one of the most common misperceptions about black history in Orange County is that it is relatively recent. His years of painstaking research proves otherwise. "People think black migration to Orange County happened only after World War II," he said. "Nothing could be farther from the truth. There was a tremendous black presence here from the very beginning." The beginning means the first European settlements in Orange County. Slaves fought in the American Revolution, and the Dutch left slaves when they surrendered to the British. Northerners commonly think of black slavery as a Southern institution. In fact, slavery was abolished in New York State in 1827, less than 40 years before it was abolished in the South. Brennan started his genealogical project after he and a friend and fellow-historian, the late Roger King, were looking into their hunch that the children of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings were buried in Orange County. Brennan and King, both ardent genealogists, lamented the lack of resources available to African-Americans who wished to research their family ties to Orange County. Brennan has made it his mission to fill that need.