College Launches New York State's First Slavery Records Index - NBC New York

College Launches New York State's First Slavery Records Index

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    College Launches New York State's First Slavery Records Index
    Courtesy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice
    A birth registration document from 1803 of an enslaved person. John Jay College of Criminal Justice launched the state’s first slavery records database on Wednesday, Jan. 31. (Courtesy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice)

    What to Know

    • A local city college launched New York state’s first slavery records database Wednesday.

    • The New York Slavery Index was compiled by John Jay College of Criminal Justice, provides records, documents, narratives and other sources

    • The free database features 35,000 records

    A New York City college launched the state’s first slavery records database Wednesday.

    The New York Slavery Index, compiled by CUNY's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, provides records, documents, narratives and other sources that identify individual enslaved people and their owners from 1525 through the Civil War.

    Karol V. Mason, president of John Jay College, said in a statement that the index will mark a significant contribution to "understanding and remembering the country’s history of slavery."

    "This vast, public database will serve as an important research tool that will support information-based scholarship on slavery in New York and across the nation," Mason said.

    Visitors to the free public database can search 35,000 records related to New York state, including the names of the slave-owning senators in 1790 and 1800, birth certificates of enslaved individuals.

    Advertisements for the capture and return of enslaved New Yorkers and records of almost 200 people who escaped slavery in the South and came to the Empire State on the Underground Railroad will also be listed in the resource.

    The database was developed and is administered by two professors and a team of graduate students in the college’s Master of Public Administration programs.

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