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    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    New York and Slavery: Time to Teach the Truth

    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. "Alan Singer has produced a wonderful teaching resource for those interested in New York State history, the history of slavery and abolition within the state and in the North, and African American history. The book will be useful to teachers at all levels and to a general audience for several reasons. Written in lucid, accessible prose, the book addresses methodological and pedagogical issues with candor and transparency at a conceptual level and simultaneously provides many helpful examples and models for constructing practical lesson plans. The historical content reflects the author's comprehensive review of the secondary scholarly literature and familiarity with pertinent primary sources. The book is an excellent guide for instructors wishing to supplement standard textbook treatments of slavery in the northern United States, New York State, and New York City." -- Myra Young Armstead, author of Mighty Change, Tall Within: Black Identity in the Hudson Valley "Slavery helped forge America's political economy, culture, and race relations. In clear, thoughtful, and accessible language, Alan Singer has helped us better understand and teach the `peculiar institution.' This excellent guide is not just for teachers or New Yorkers, it is for all of us." -- William H. Watkins, author of The White Architects of Black Education: Ideology and Power in America, 1865-1954
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