History Programs

We all enjoy learning something new and interesting, which is why history related programs are always among our most popular events. This page features a wide range of webinars, offered both by our library and other libraries. All programs listed are FREE, virtual, and open to the public!


May Events

The Birth of Industry, Leisure & the Arts in the Hudson Valley 

Wed, May 12th @ 6:30pm

Presenters: Stephen Blauweiss & Karen Berelowitz

Registration Link: https://bit.ly/3t7jvJj

Join local historians and authors of the Life & Death of the Kingston Post Office book, Stephen Blauweiss and Karen Berelowitz, for a free engaging and informative PhotoTalk based on their upcoming book The Story of Historic Kingston:  A Journey Through the Hudson Valley and its Connections with New York City, featuring over 850 photographs. This PhotoTalk covers a thriving era in Kingston and Hudson Valley history they call "The Roaring 1820s" and its intricate relationship with New York City's development. There will also be time for discussion and Q&A.

'Momma, momma hide your child. The cops are shooting as if they're wild':

Race, Police Violence and Perceptions of Criminality in early 1970's NYC 

Thursday, May 13th @ 2:00pm

Presenter: Peter G. Vellon (Associate Professor of History at Queens College)

Registration Link: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/programs/  

In July 1974, some 15 months after 10-year-old year old Clifford Glover was gunned down on the streets of Jamaica, Queens, New York City by Police Officer Thomas Shea, Charles E. Carter wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Amsterdam News.  Emotional, frustrated, and angry, Carter declared it “was open season on New York Blacks.”  Carter arrived at the conclusion promulgated by Elijah Muhammed that “The Black man is a foreigner in the United States of America.”  Carter opined that all hope for any form of integration, or reconciliation, was at this moment lost.  “I expect and want nothing from American white people,” Carter declared, because the Shea case makes it clear to policemen to “shoot them (blacks) in their cribs.” The murder of 11-year-old Ricky Bodden and 10-year-old Clifford Glover in 1972 and 1973 respectively, aroused anger and fear that white New York City police officers were literally gunning down Black children in cold blood, or as Carter claimed, “shooting them in their cribs.”  Egregious as these killings appeared to Black residents, the subsequent acquittals of the white police officers only stoked their outrage. The New York Times editorial page claimed that “the fear engendered by such neighborhoods seems to be at the heart of such cases.”  Indeed, although suspicion and hostility between Black communities and police officers had been a long-standing feature of urban life in the 20th century, the early 1970s in New York City appeared to be a seminal moment in the consolidation of blackness with criminality.  This presentation by Peter Vellon will examine the murder of Clifford Glover in order to gauge the Black community’s reaction to police violence in early 1970s New York City, as well as how neighborhood’s such as Jamaica, Queens, became closely associated with criminality. 

Jane Addams and Her Vision for America 

Tuesday, May 18th @ 12:00 pm

Presenter: Sandra Opdycke, Ph.D.

Registration Link: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/programs/

In 1910, Jane Addams (1860-1935) was one of the most famous women in America, the revered founder of Hull-House settlement in Chicago, and a participant in virtually every social reform campaign of the era. But in 1917, when Addams publicly opposed America’s entry into World War I, her fortunes changed dramatically. For more than a decade, she was vilified for opposing the war, as well as for her liberal social views. By the 1930s, however, concerns over the Great Depression were overshadowing the hatreds of the 1920s, and Addams found herself back in favor. Once again she was hailed as a great American, and in 1931 she became the first woman ever to win the Nobel Prize for Peace. Today, many people barely remember Addams’ name. But it is still true that we live in a world she helped to shape, by the causes she supported and the people she inspired. This course will explore Addams’ remarkable life, and consider what it can tell us about social reform, about women’s lives in early 20th century America, and about the practical challenges of trying to put our nation’s democratic ideals into practice.

Human Trafficking in New York's Capital Region

Tuesday, May 25th @ 11:30am

Presenter: Mary Armistead, Esq. (Staff attorney at The Legal Project)

Registration Link: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/programs/  

Human Trafficking is a misunderstood phenomenon due to media sensationalism and misinformation spread via social media. Unfortunately, human trafficking occurs throughout the world, including the United States. Polaris (the National Human Trafficking Hotline) notes that the 22,326 human trafficking victims they identified in the U.S. in 2019 are only a fraction of the cases, as human trafficking is notoriously under-reported due to the failure of even victims to understand the crime that is being committed against them. As an attorney providing civil legal services to human trafficking victims in the Greater Capital Region, Mary Armistead will discuss what human trafficking has looked like in her experiences working with victims over the last three years. She will break down the definition of human trafficking, provide examples to illuminate, discuss myths and misunderstandings, and discuss the more prominent types of trafficking cases she has seen in New York’s Capital Region.

The videos provided on the above link are recordings of some past programs that were sponsored by the Friends of the New York State Library.