Our virtual Albany History Fair this year will explore the theme “Every Month, Black History Month.” Co-sponsored with the Underground Railroad Education Center, we will work with heritage partners and community organizations to showcase Albany’s stories celebrating African American history and life—through virtual tours, Facebook live events, webinars, social media posts, and an interactive map plotting the rich and heretofore unknown world of Afro-American Cherry Hill resident, William James Knapp (1843-1885).
This year’s fair will span the entire month of May—but as the fair title suggests, it will not end there. Your support on the History Fair Honorary Committee will not only support the 22nd Annual Albany History Fair—it will empower us to continue our research and interpretive initiatives to shine the light on African American history every day. Because, after all, Every Month Is Black History Month.
A note of context: At Historic Cherry Hill, we have always valued diverse perspectives, inclusive interpretation, and historical truth—but as we wrote in a statement released after the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, “we believe we can do more.” With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, in July we began fulfill that pledge. In early May (May 11), we had applied for an NEH CARES grant to digitize hundreds of collections related to the African American experience at Cherry Hill and to create prompts and teaching tools to facilitate classroom use. Empowered with that funding, we spent the latter half of the year poring over the letters, photographs, diaries, personal belongings, bills of sale, and manumission documents related to the enslaved people and African American servants who were a part of the Cherry Hill household. We created lesson plans that squarely focused on these important historical characters. And once again, we’re ready to “do more.” Thank you for helping us do just that.