New Paltz, NY (August 13, 2020) – Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) presents the online exhibit. “Never Was a Slave” Jacob Wynkoop, Free and Black in 19th-Century New Paltz, and may be viewed at https://www.huguenotstreet.org/exhibits. Jacob was born in New Paltz, New York, in 1829, the child of two former slaves, Thomas and Jane Deyo Wynkoop. Jacob had an exceptional and varied life for any man of his time, black or white. Among the first African Americans to buy land in the community, he also served in the Union Army during the Civil War, organized politically on behalf of black citizens in town, and built a series of homes that today still define a neighborhood in the village of New Paltz. Jacob and his family’s story are illuminated by historical documents and photographic materials from the HHS Archives, the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection at the Elting Memorial Library, Town of New Paltz Records, and the Records of the Reformed Church of New Paltz. The exhibit is curated by Josephine Bloodgood, HHS Director of Curatorial and Preservation Affairs.
Historic Huguenot Street, like many other historic institutions, is working to bring overdue attention to the contributions made by African Americans to our communities and our nation. The online exhibit is also part of the museum’s pivot to digital programming to the public during the health crisis. Joining other institutions across the country and abroad, Historic Huguenot Street has launched a new online programming initiative that includes engaging videos, hands-on activities, special deals from the museum shop available for delivery, and new ways to participate and explore its exhibitions, archives, and collection. These virtual experiences will be available on the museum’s website and shared through its social-media channels using the hashtag #MuseumsFromHome.
Anyone interested in supporting Historic Huguenot Street and its new approach to online programming and digital content can become a member or make a donation on the museum’s website, http://www.huguenotstreet.org/donate.
Jacob Wynkoop (detail from a photo of Civil War veterans at the New Paltz Rural Cemetery, ca. 1908). Courtesy of Shirley Anson and the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection, Elting Library.
About Historic Huguenot Street
A National Historic Landmark District, Historic Huguenot Street is a 501(c)3 non-profit that encompasses 30 buildings across 10 acres comprising the heart of the original 1678 New Paltz settlement, including seven stone houses dating to the early eighteenth century. Historic Huguenot Street was founded in 1894 as the Huguenot Patriotic, Historical, and Monumental Society to preserve the nationally acclaimed collection of stone houses. Since then, Historic Huguenot Street has grown into an innovative museum, chartered as an educational corporation by the University of the State of New York Department of Education that is dedicated to protecting our historic buildings, preserving an important collection of artifacts and manuscripts, and and promoting the stories of the Native American, French, Dutch, and enslaved Africans and their descendants who lived in the area of Huguenot Street over time.
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