Cato Freedom Conference Photo Gallery
Cato Freedom is an African American Revolutionary War patriot who was interred in 1830 at the Butternut Valley Cemetery in Otsego County in upstate New York.
A salute to Cato Freedom of the Revolutionary War and United States Colored Troops soldiers was held during the Cato Freedom Conference and Think Tank, April 30-May 2, 2010. The Rev. Paul Carter of the Harriet Tubman Home and AME Zion Church in Auburn, NY offered a prayer of Remembrance. Matthews, far left, prepares for libations to the ancestors following the prayer.
Harry Bradshaw Matthews provides libations to the ancestors of the slavery period, Freedmen, and their deceased descendants. Participants at the Cato Freedom Conference and Think Tank have traced their American ancestors as far back as the 1700s.
Pictured, front row, L-R: Matthews, Professor of History Edythe Ann Quinn, Emmanuella Brakye '11 of Ghana portraying abolitionist Maria W. Stewart, and ZSun-nee Kimball (Miller) Matema. Matema's G-G-Grandparent(s) were Robert Henry Brannum Robinson, born on March 14, 1825, and Mary A. Warwick, born in Richmond, VA on October 15, 1832. They were married September 1, 1848 in Alexandria, VA at Roberts Memorial Chapel.
Back row, L-R: Dwayvania Miller '10 of Hartwick's Harriet Tubman Mentoring Project has roots in Nassau, Bahamas; less visible are Cherry Baylor and her husband, Kenneth Butler.
Freedom earned his freedom through service in the Revolutionary War. The recovery of Cato Freedom's legacy has significance beyond the freedom that he gained as a consequence of enlisting in the Third Connecticut Regiment, as well as serving in the 5th Company of the Seventh Regiment until September 1783.
February 2010 marked the 180th anniversary of Cato's death, with his birth extending back to his native Africa in 1734. Fortunately, his tombstone, that of his wife, Parmelia, and the tombstone of their daughter, Charlotte, remain intact. These memorials help to support and facilitate interracial understanding through the sharing of intersecting reference points in American history and interdependence.
Hartwick student Emmanuella Brakye '11 of Ghana and the Bronx, NY, portrayed abolitionist, political writer, women's rights activist, and educator Maria W. Stewart, 1803-79, during the Cato Freedom Conference and Think Tank. Matthews, founding president of the USCT Institute for Local History and Family Research, prepares for libations to the ancestors. History Professor Edythe Ann Quinn bows her head in preparation of the ceremony.
Standing behind the tombstones for Cato Freedom, his wife Parmelia [Amelia], and the couple's daughter Charlotte, are: Fern Beavers and Sharon Amos of the Buffalo Veterans Hospital, USCT Institute President Harry Bradshaw Matthews, Rev. Paul Carter and Mrs. Christine Carter of the Harriet Tubman Home, and Madeline O. Scott, the great-granddaughter of T.H. Barnes, a former student of the Colored Orphan Asylum, which was burned to the ground during the Civil War protest in New York City.
Front row: With hands resting on tombstones are, L-R: Harry Bradshaw Matthews, who traced his family history in South Carolina to the 1700s; Cherry Baylor, who traced her lineage back to the 1830s in Virginia; ZSun-nee Matema traced her lineage back to the 1700s in Virginia; and Yvonne Captain of Silver Springs, MD,who has traced her family history back to the 1700s. Others in the picture include Rev. Paul Carter, Sharon Amos, Darlene Colón, Madeline Scott, Ben Hawley, Kenneth Butler, Roverta Russaw, and Fern Beavers, Emmanuella Brakey (Maria Stewart).
Front row, L-R: Nicole Thornhill '11 of Milton, MA, Emmanuella Brakye '11, Dwayvania Miller '10, and Harry Bradshaw Matthews.
Second row: Professor Edythe Ann Quinn, Stephanie Pointer Brunetta, Brittanie Kemp '11, Hartwick College Provost Michael Tannenbaum, and New York State Historian and Chief Archivist Robert Weible.