Learn about three African Americans who helped influence our Capital Region history

Donald Hyman will present a free multimedia program on the African-American community in the Capital District in the late 19th Century on Oct. 5 for the New Scotland Historical Association.

To the Editor:

The New Scotland Historical Association is pleased to again offer in-person programs for the public! The program opening our 2021-22 season is one of timely relevance.

Educator and actor Donald Hyman will present a multimedia program on the African-American community in the late 19th Century. Included will be portrayals of three African Americans who helped influence our Capital Region history:

— Adam Blake Jr., hotelier, entrepreneur, and community leader;

— Judge James Matthews, Albany Law School’s first African-American graduate and the first African-American judge in New York State; and

— James Dickson, New Scotland native and general manager for the Slingerland family.

The life of James Dickson is of special local interest. As written in his obituary printed in The Altamont Enterprise on Feb. 1, 1907, “No man in this community was better known or more respected …. For thirty-seven years he has been employed by the Hon. Wm. H. Slingerland as general manager.”

This is the branch of the Slingerland family that founded the hamlet of Slingerlands. Wm H. Slingerland is buried in the family burial vault built in 1852, which was recently reconstructed and then rededicated on Sept. 8, 2021. James Dickson is buried in Bethlehem Cemetery.

Donald Hyman is from Brooklyn and now calls Albany home. He is currently vice chairman for Channel Albany and has produced “Albany Tempo Spectrum” for eight seasons and “Capital Region Portraits” for Proctors Open Stage Media. He currently works at Montessori Magnet School in Albany. He has performed in venues throughout the Capital Region.

Come and learn more about just a few of the African Americans of the late 19th Century who have had such a positive influence on the Capital District. This interesting and informative program will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5, at the Wyman Osterhout Community Center in New Salem at 7 Old New Salem Road. Admission is always free.

On the same day and at the same location, please take the opportunity to take in the official reopening of the New Scotland Historical Association Museum, featuring the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. The museum will be open for a half-hour before the program.

Please be aware that the town of New Scotland requires attendees to wear masks.

Judy Kimes


New Scotland

Historical Association

Editor’s note: See related podcast.

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