On Saturday July 30, I left the Empire State Trail to find the Mabee Farm about 9/10th of a mile from the trail I was following. After some back and forth debate with myself about leaving the trail and adding additional mileage to my day, I decided it was important to see and learn the story of the enslaved 18th Century Africans on this Rotterdam Junction, NY farm. At the farm, I was fortunate to meet Michael Nya, the Schenectady County Historical Society’s Director of Education. He was very kind to allow me to interview him on camera for a few minutes. In the two videos below he briefly discusses what is known about the African community on the farm.
After resting on the ground next to the cemetery for about 45 minutes, when I got up I felt the ancestors here were still unsettled. I sensed anger and bitterness was still being held onto by the ancestors. What did the Dutch enslaver do to the ancestors here? The farm, managed by the Schenectady County Historical Society, is trying to learn where the African community is buried on the property but hasn’t had much success. The headstone below, which serves as a place holder, was dedicated by a local elementary school to remember the African community.
As I continued my walk that afternoon away from the farm I began to wonder if the ancestors located somewhere on the Mabee Farm want to be found? I left feeling more spiritual work needs to be done here.