#TeachTruth in Saratoga County

A living document with resources on teaching the complicated history and complicated present of Saratoga Springs and the surrounding region.

If you have additions to share, please email SaratogaEEN@gmail.com.
Table of Contents

Resources on BIPOC History of Saratoga
Cultural Resources for Families and Teachers: Places to Visit
Resources for Educators and Life-Long Learners
Saratoga READS Series (Spring 2021)
Bibliographic Resources

Resources on BIPOC History of Saratoga

MLK Saratoga Treasure Hunt

View the screen/printer friendly format in PDF, then check your answers and delve into the stories behind the sites. 

MLK Saratoga welcomes you to a new adventure project which begins to uncover and explore Saratoga Springs’ history of our People of Color … real stories with real impact on who we all are today! So, why a Treasure Hunt? Because we have so much to learn and appreciate about the many hidden *treasures — right here — that history has ignored, forgotten, or simply white-washed.  And why “OURstory”? Because we cannot truly know ourselves and how we have arrived where we are today until we re-weave the very fabric of OUR shared story — a much more color-full, vibrant and extraordinary tapestry of Humanity than our history books, classrooms, and memories have represented over the centuries. 

This Treasure Hunt becomes more urgent now, as we lose the threads of history held by our Elders. We hope you will reach out to your families, friends, and neighbors to find the *Treasures of your own past!  Let’s weave them into OURstory and repair HIStory, so we can grow our community into a stronger, healthier tomorrow — together.

You can also submit your own Treasure Story to share for inclusion in future versions of the map.

Spirit of Life Sculpture

The Spirit of Life Sculpture by Daniel Chester French was erected in 1914 in Congress Park. The model was an African American woman named Henrietta Anderson whose likeness can be seen in monuments across the United States. This article from August 12, 2021 in the New York Times reflects on her long overlooked history.

Saratoga’s History of Urban Renewal (1960s-1980s)

In the 1960s, large areas of mostly Black- and immigrant-owned homes and businesses were purchased and raised as part of a federally-funded urban renewal project. This project effectively “erased” the most diverse neighborhoods of Saratoga Springs and replaced them with parking lots and white-owned businesses. This guide contains links to articles, images, and resources having to do with urban renewal projects in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Saratoga Soul, Brandtville Blues

Carol Daggs is a fourth generation Saratogian who recently published ‘Saratoga Soul Brandtville Blues,’ a visual narrative of the African American experience in Saratoga. The book is currently part of Saratoga Springs public library’s Saratoga Reads series. Daggs offers walking tours of Brandtville as well as book talks.

Lattimore Family Walking Tour Locations

One of the prominent Black families in Saratoga in the 19th Century, the Lattimores moved up from Albany in 1827, then lived in Saratoga Springs and up on “the farm” in Moreau for generations, and became significant business owners, community members, and figures in the Underground Railroad alongside Solomon Northup, Stephen Myers, and others. Benjamin Lattimore was born a free man in Connecticut, and found himself raising his family here in the Capital District, appearing in Albany records by 1800, but he married an enslaved woman. He had been successful in Albany, even buying property from Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, but in 1821, had to testify in court that he was, indeed, a free man. In 1827, the Lattimores sold property in Albany, and purchased properties further north in Saratoga County. Benjamin Lattimore’s granddaughter, Celia Broughton Lattimore, became the first Black student to graduate from Saratoga Springs public schools in 1894.

Highlighting properties they owned and other significant sites of Black history in the City of Saratoga Springs, you can see that while the “Black neighborhood” developed on the West side in the 1960s, Black landowners like the Lattimores held property throughout the core district, East and West sides throughout the nineteenth century. 

Note: Content from this portion of our resource document comes from a variety of sources, but most from a 2021 talk by Saratoga History Room librarian Lorie Wies and retired librarian Julie O’Connor, well-known blogger “albanymuskrat” and organizing force behind the collaborative Friends of Albany History blog and Facebook page, which are loaded with local resources. 

  • Broughton House
    Located near where St. Peter’s Church and Spa Catholic stand today, Broughton House was a prominent Black hotel that operated for decades and was chronicled in local papers. The Lattimore women were recognized in one article as fabulous dancers at the hotel’s balls. This area of town functioned much like a Black resort community for BIPOC tourists and community members, and the Troy Daily Times referred to the Broughton as “a swell hotel for Colored people, or rather, the hotel for swell Colored people.”  The family put the property up for sale in 1913, and the hotel was later razed. Read more through New York Almanack and The Grist Mill
  • The Hotel Wayland
    A stone’s throw from Broughton House is where the Hotel Wayland stood at 48 W. Congress St. (current location of the CVS Pharmacy), which the Lattimores owned. 
  • Jumel Mansion, 129 Circular Street
    Born in Rhode Island Madame Eliza Jumel was a thrice-married socialite of Saratoga Summers in the early nineteenth century. She married the wealthy French-Haitian merchant Stephen Jumel and inherited his wealth upon his death in 1832 including the Morris-Jumel Mansion in the Bronx, and properties in Paris, and began traveling into Saratoga during summer months. She was married to Aaron Burr for three years (1833-1836), and remained one of the wealthiest women in American women through to her death in 1865. After Solomon Northup was kidnapped in 1841, Jumel hired his wife, Anne, a renowned cook, to work in her home and Mrs. Northup and her three children went with her to New York after the summer seasons. Read more about this property and connection to the Northup story through Roohan Realty’s Saratoga Centennial sites. This property is tied to the Northup story, but the Lattimore and Northup families were associated by then. 
  • Lattimore home on Nelson (former Jumel property)
    This property on 242 Nelson Avenue was part of a large tract of land that Madame Jumel purchased on the East Side in the mid-1900s. The Lattimores also owned property at 250 Nelson Avenue, 93 Lincoln Avenue (demolished, near to Five Points), 38 Phila St. (demolished), 14 Cherry Street, 207 Division St., 9-11 S. Federal Street (demolished), 28 Van Rensselaer, 167 Lake Avenue (new structure on site built in 1932), 233 Union Avenue (the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame now extends across this address). 

Cultural Resources for Families and Teachers:
Places to Visit

Underground Railroad Education Center, Albany, NY

The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence was a headquarters for Underground Railroad activity in the Capital Region in the mid 1850’s. The Myers were a family of Free Blacks who openly hosted self-emancipating persons as guests in their home while en route. Today, this historic site is a place where the community can come to learn about and be transformed by the inspiring story of the Underground Railroad, the first integrated civil rights movement in the United States, and its relevance for us today.

Ndakinna Education Center, Greenfield, NY

The Ndakinna Education Center offers people of all ages unique hands-on learning experiences, principles of indigenous arts of life, team building, character development, and exhibit spaces focusing on regional Native American understandings, Adirondack culture, wilderness skills and awareness of the natural world.

National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, Saratoga Springs, NY

The mission of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is to preserve and promote the history of thoroughbred racing in America and honor the sport’s most accomplished participants in the Official National Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame. A visit to the museum provides an opportunity to critically confront the complicated history and present of this sport. The museum currently features a special exhibit on women in racing. MLK Saratoga collaborated with the museum to put together this video presentation on the history of African Americans in the Sport of Thoroughbred racing

Historic Cherry Hill, Albany, NY

As the five-generation home of the Van Rensselaer household with an intact collection of 70K artifacts–clothing, bedding, photographs, furnishings, diaries, manuscripts, and more–there are few places like Historic Cherry Hill nationwide. Extended family, enslaved people, descendants and servants all lived here, and left behind 200 years of artifacts, documents, and stories documenting life in Albany from 1787 through 1963. The depth and breadth of the collections allows visitors (virtual and in life) to have an intimate encounter with the past to understand the ways this family, their servants, and the people they enslaved experienced moments in history. 

In a recent NEH-funded project, the museum investigated collections related to Black life at Cherry Hill, including people who were enslaved, and free Black children who were raised at the house as servants and wards (including descendants of people enslaved in earlier generations). Through 2020, the museum digitized more than 600 items related to historical Black life, including bills of sale, dolls, letters, and photographs, 1787-1904. In a critical story about gradual manumission and the abolition of slavery in New York, the collections also include resources around the infamous “murder at Cherry Hill,” in which an enslaved woman, Dinah Jackson, found herself key witness for the prosecution when she was finally emancipated on July 4, 1827. 

The museum now offers prepared teaching units, including classroom slides, lesson plans, and worksheets related to these collections for 4th-8th grade (lesson plans, slides, worksheets), and 7th-12th grades (Lesson 1, Lesson 2) aligned with American and local history standards.

Shaker Heritage Society, Albany, NY

An early Shaker site, The Shaker Heritage Society offers educational programming about the Shakers, their innovative spirit and their influence on American culture, but that content also includes information about BIPOC Shakers. Throughout the nineteenth century, Shakers welcomed BIPOC adults and children into the community, providing harbor and home.

Resources for Educators and Life-Long Learners

Historic Hudson Valley: People Not Property

Historic Hudson Valley’s project takes as its premise that no one region of United States was immune to the evils inherent in the institution of slavery.  Providing a key resource on the institution of slavery in North–its history and its abolition–Historic Hudson Valley utilizes the collections of the consortium’s 5 historic house museums and public collections to chronicle slavery in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine. The visual product–films and resources split across 5 “chapters” has become “gold standard” in the digital humanities, museum fields, and in public scholarship on the institution of slavery. 

NY Heritage

New York Heritage is a digital repository used by libraries, colleges and universities and museums to share primary source materials, including photographs, historical documents, letters, postcards, and more, within a searchable database. 

Saratoga History Room

The Saratoga Room houses the Library’s extensive Local History Collection. Books, photographs, postcards, audio-visual materials, maps, pamphlets, clippings, personal and organizational papers are available for researchers exploring the story of Saratoga Springs’ colorful and unique history.

Soul Fire Farm

Soul Fire Farm is an Afro-Indigenous centered community farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system. We raise and distribute life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of our ancestors, we work to reclaim our collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system. We bring diverse communities together on this healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health, and environmental justice. We are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.

Rapp Road Historic District

The Rapp Road Historic District (RRHD) is a cluster of 23 homes built by African Americans who migrated predominantly from Shubuta, Mississippi, as part of the Great Migration (1927 to 1963). During this time span, 23 families chose to build their homes and raise a family in the Pine Bush section of Albany (near the Crossgates Mall and Washington Avenue Extension). Rapp Road is Albany’s only historic district dedicated to Black history; nationally, fewer than 3 percent of National Register Districts that preserve and celebrate Black history. Their website includes a map of historical homes in the District, as well as historical family photographs, newspaper clippings, and resources on the Great Migration. 

Saratoga READS Series (Spring 2021), Saratoga Springs Public Library

Bibliographic Resources

Solomon Northup Bibliography
  • Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave (1853). Out of copyright, free access to a digital copy of the book is available through Project Gutenberg.
  • David Fiske, Clifford W. Brown, and Rachel Seligman, Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave (New York: Praeger, 2013).
  • Steve McQueen (dir.), Twelve Years a Slave (R) (2013). Currently streaming on Hulu.

Carol R. Daggs, Saratoga Soul, Brandtville Blues (self published, 2020).

Sally E. Svenson, Blacks in the Adirondacks: A History (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2017). The full book is available on JSTOR for those with access to academic libraries.

Vicky Moon, Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop Had a Way with Horses (Country Zest, 2020).

Katherine Mooney, Race Horse Men: How Slavery and Freedom Were Made at the Racetrack (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014).