Kingston resident Janai McDonough hosted a trip for Wolf Pack Troop 103 to the Mt. Zion African-American Burial Ground in Kingston. We were so pleased to learn of their interest and are happy to share her experience.
“Here are a few pics from my scouts field trip to Mt. Zion on 3/4. We are the Wolf Pack of troop 103 as part of our scout training and development we need to visit a historical site. The city of Kingston offers many such places for us to visit but during recent meetings we had discussed how the Mt Zion cemetary had been rededicated and a few of the boys had learned about it during a school presentation. Since this was fresh in their minds we figured visiting the cemetery would be a great way to actually see in person what we had discussed.
The scouts informed each other about the history of Mt. Zion and were very impressed by the soldiers who fought in the civil war. A few were excited to find they shared first and some last names with men who lived so long ago and they each picked a headstone that called to them and did a rubbing to take home.”
The Kingston Land Trust and the Kingston Land Trust African-American History Committee organized a viewing today of the Mt. Zion African-American Rededication Ceremony film for Elementary School Students at St. Joesph School in Kingston. Joining the population at St. Joseph were Elementary School students from the George Washington Elementary School as well as students from Maple Ridge Bruderhoff (Maple Ridge School).
The hour-long presentation included the film and guest speakers Terri Gittens (a committee member of the KLT African-American History Committee as well as the president of CARE IJN/Cultural Awareness Restores Equality), Renee Van Dyke (a resident of Kingston with at least five generations of family members buried at the Mt. Zion Cemetery now living in Washington DC), Pastor Kenneth Walsh (of the Old Dutch Church who read the Statement of Reconciliation), and Liz Joyce (film maker).
The presentation closed with Principal of St. Joseph School Jeanne Dolamore with her violin for the group to sing “Kumbaya” and a closing prayer.
St. Joseph Jeanne M. P. Dolamore sings Kumbaya with the students to close the event.
Over 100 students were in attendance and sat attentively throughout.
The Kingston Land Trust thanks the administration of St. Joseph Church in their interest in sharing African-American history in the City of Kingston.
Special thanks to Vinnie Manginelli, Jeanne Dolamore, Valerie Hannum, Maple Ridge Bruderhoff, Renee Van Dyke, Terri Gittens, Pastor Kenneth Walsh, Liz Joyce, Ismail Shabazz, Lydia Newcombe, Kevin McEvoy and Barbara Epstein for their participation today.
KLT African-American History Committee member Terri Gittens talks to the Children.
Pastor Kenneth Walsh of the Old Dutch Church reads the children their Statement of Reconciliation and discusses the importance of healing through taking responsibility and issuing an apology at any time.
Kingston resident Renee Van Dyke shares her family history and connection to the Mt. Zion Cemetery.
We are pleased to present the Mt. Zion African-American Cemetery Rededication Ceremony film online for the community to share, enjoy and remember.
Also, the Kingston Land Trust has created this terrific classroom worksheet to allow activities and thoughtful discussion for students after viewing the film. Click on this link for a copy: Mt. Zion Cemetery Worksheet
A very special thanks to Liz Joyce for her wonderful film, Mark Marshall for his web support and guidance and KLT Board Director Scarlet Duba for her assistance in the worksheet layout.
You can also enjoy “Memories and Stories” hosted by the lovely Terri Gittens – interviewing several family members who have a family connection at that Mt. Zion African-American Cemetery.
In celebration of Black History Month, The Kingston Land Trust and the KLT African-American History Committee present the Mt. Zion African-American Cemetery Re-dedication film to Elementary school students in the Kingston School District in February. The cemetery, the second African-American Cemetery in Kingston, represents the key component of the history of the African-American Community in Kingston from the mid 19th Century and onwards.
Dedicated to outreach and education, the committee will present the film in Kingston’s Community Centers (Rondout Neighborhood Center) and to Elementary School students at St. Joseph School, Kingston in collaboration with schools in the Kingston City School district such as the GW Elementary School and Zena Elementary School. Youth will have the opportunity to view the film and participate in a short panel discussion with family members who have generations of family buried at the Mt. Zion Cemetery, the film maker, and Pastor Kenneth Walsh of the Old Dutch Church of Kingston to discuss their statement of reconciliation, an apology to the African-American community for ” our history of dehumanizing racism that allowed for the enslavement and subsequent segregation of our sisters and brothers of African descent.”
Although these events are not open to the public, if your organization or school wish to host the film in 2012, please contact Rebecca Martin, Executive Director of the Kingston Land Trust at email@example.com or call 845-877-LAND (5263) for more information.
About the Kingston Land Trust African-American History Committee: The Kingston Land Trust African-American History Committee is charged to uphold the integrity, accomplishments and contributions made by African-Americans who lived or are living in the City of Kingston, NY.
About the Mt. Zion African-American Cemetery in Kingston, NY: The Zion African-American Cemetery, the second African American Cemetery in Kingston, represents the key component of the history of the African American community in Kingston from the mid 19th Century onwards. The earliest documented grave is believed to date to circa 1856 while the latest is believed to be 1967, the approximate period of significance although the cemetery has been said to date back earlier. The property appears to have been deeded to the Village of Kingston in 1858. Mt. Zion Cemetery Association was formed in 1891 with the Kingston Common Council approving preparation of a deed that same year. A list of approx 90 persons known to be buried here was drawn up from research in the 1980′s. The cemetery contains names of many of Kingston’s early African American families and includes Dutch and French Huguenot surnames of Ulster County families for whom their family members had likely once served as slaves and as such forms a vital visible legacy for Kingston’s African American community. In addition, a notable number of veterans are buried in this cemetery including numerous Civil War veterans who served in the US Colored Troops, 20th Regiment. The direct association with the 20th Regiment connects the cemetery to Civil War events in and around New Orleans and Port Hudson, Louisiana which are among the places the regiment was stationed and to the Chalmette National Cemetery just outside New Orleans where some local members of the 20th Regiment who passed away while in service are buried. The cemetery has the potential and probability of illustrating lifestyle and traditions of Kingston’s African American community and encompassing important information relevant to the study of the material culture and social history of this community over an extended period and thereby reflecting historic associations from Kingston’s early period of settlement through the end of the period of significance, as well as containing the graves of members of the USCT 20th Regiment whose activities helped determine the course of events in national history during the Civil War.
The Kingston Land Trust African-American History Committee meets on the first Monday of each month at 6:00pm at the KLT offices. If you wish to become a member, please contact Rebecca Martin, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
“As we gather and celebrate the rededication of the Mt. Zion Cemetery, we, the Consistory and Congregation of the First Protestant Reformed Dutch Church of Kingston, known as “Old Dutch Church”, acknowledge with deep regret our history of dehumanizing racism that allowed for the enslavement and subsequent segregation of our sisters and brothers of African descent…”
Thanks to the Kingston Veterans Association, the Mt. Zion African-American Burial Ground on South Wall Street now has new signage.
The Kingston Land Trust’s Black History Committee is working to create a re-dedication of the site in 2011. For more information on this site, and other important African-American historic aspects in the City of Kingston, visit this LINK.
Bill Forte shows off the the sign sponsored by the Veterans Association of Kingston. Photo Credit: Linda Archer
We are pleased to share this photograph of the new sign that will be placed at the Mt. Zion African-American Burial Ground on South Wall Street in Kingston.
That’s Bill Forte from the Veterans Association of Kingston at last nights Historic Landmarks Commission meeting, where it unanimously passed.
With the formation of a Black History Committee through the Kingston Land Trust and all of its new partnerships that include the AME Zion Church of Kingston, the Veterans Association of Kingston, Pointe of Praise Church, the Everett Hodge Center, Terri Gittens (who is the new coordinator of the committee), city and county Historians, residents and others, this partially forgotten cemetery is now getting its due.
Already a historic landmark in the city of Kingston, an effort is underway for it (along with the AME Zion Church of Kingston with which it is affiliated) to be recognized by the State of New York in the same fashion.
Look for a re-dedication ceremony of this site and much more on the Black History Committee’s recent progress in 2011.
For more on the African-American Cemeteries in the city of Kingston, visit this LINK
The Kingston Land Trust’s Black History Committee meets on the first Monday of each month at 6:00pm at the Kingston Land Trust offices, 280 Wall Street (2nd Floor) in Kingston, NY.
Photo Credit: Carrie Jones Ross of the Kingston Times
There is a great piece in the Kingston Times this week (8/19/10) on the recent tour of the African-American Burial Grounds on South Wall and Pine Streets in Kingston. The event was sponsored by the Kingston Land Trust.
Our first formal sit down meeting on protecting the sites will take place on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 at 6:30pm. Anyone interested in being present can come to the Kingston Land Trust offices at 280 Wall Street, 2nd Floor at that time.
If you have any questions, contact Rebecca Martin, Executive Director at 845/877-LAND (5263).