• Cato Freedom Grave Site
  • Freedom Grave Site
  • Hartwick Students at USCT Grand Review, Harrisburg, PA
  • Hartwick Students at USCT Grand Review, Harrisburg, PA

USCT Institute to Lead NYS Delegation

Hartwick Delegation Represents NYS at USCT Grand Review: Summary of Events, November 2010
With the nation bracing for the 2011 Black History Month celebrations of the theme "African Americans and the Civil War," Hartwick College, a small private majority white institution, finds itself in a position to make a contribution to the national observances. It is the location of the United States Colored Troops Institute for Local History and Family Research that was founded in 1998 by Harry Bradshaw Matthews, the College's Associate Dean and Director of U.S. Pluralism Programs. Since the founding of the USCTI, it has emerged as one of the priority resource centers for the study of the 200,000 black soldiers of the Civil War and their 7,000 white officers. The role of the USCTI was evident at last weekend's 2010 USCT Grand Review where it served as the official New York State Delegation, including the Harriet Tubman Mentoring Project at Hartwick.

On Thursday, November 4, 2010, Matthews served as an invited guest for the Feedback and Technical Assistance panel that provided advice to the various groups represented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Quest for Freedom & Network to Freedom Partnership linking Underground Railroad sites. The major event for Friday, November 5, 2010, was the White Carnation League Dinner that honored descendants of USCT. Matthews was placed front and center with Dr. James Horton, the noted historian and the Benjamin Banneker Professor Emeritus of American Studies and History at George Washington University, for an hour on-stage discussion about African American history and genealogy.

Prior to the Grand Parade on Saturday, November 7, 2010, a formal program was taped for broadcasting and/or DVD distribution. Matthews was placed on the program to provide the official response to Mayor Linda Thompson's welcome to the delegations. Soon the parade was in full swing with 13 members of the Harriet Tubman Mentoring Project and Professor Edythe Ann Quinn representing NYS in the three-hour event that allowed an opportunity for Matthews to take pictures of the group. The student members were Brittanie Kemp, Nalisha Bascom, Emmanuella Brakye, Adia Ferris, Catherine Ceballos, Luckens Damus, Charlene Fleurinord, Carmelo Faria, Tedra Morant, Myriam Plaisir, Andrea Quinlan, Millicent Reid, and Nicole Thornhill. Following the parade, the USCTI's exhibit attracted considerable attention, including from representatives of the National Park Service. Items were provided by the privately owned Matthews Collection for the Preservation of Freedom Journey Classics.

With the conclusion of the kick-off for the 2011 African American theme, the USCTI has been positioned to serve as a major resource site for the national observance.

Announcing the Delegation: Spring 2010
Members of the USCT Institute for Local & Family Research, New York descendants of USCT, and Hartwick students of the Harriet Tubman Mentoring Project will participate in the USCT Grand Review in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in November 2010. This delegation will represent the State of New York at this important commemoration of the historic review of USCT, which took place in 1865.

Leading the delegation will be Harry Bradshaw Matthews, Associate Dean at Hartwick College and the Founding President of the USCT Institute. The Pennsylvania commemorative will follow two other related events during Fall Term that are honoring the role of African Americans in the struggle to end slavery in the United States. The events are:

September 29 - Harry Bradshaw Matthews will provide a presentation at the New York State Library in Albany as part of a series supporting and enhancing the traveling exhibit "Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln's Journey to Emancipation." Matthews will discuss how President Lincoln's Emancipation set in motion the eventual enlistment of 200,000 black soldiers in the Union ranks and how documents of the time can be used by descendants to trace their ancestry to the soldiers.

October 16 - Matthews and several other guests will provide presentations for the program at Hartwick College, "A Day of Remembrance: Commemorating the Connection of USCT and their Descendants in Central New York."

November 4 - Matthews will be the keynote speaker at the luncheon of the Annual Meeting of Pennsylvania Sites of the Network to Freedom and Pennsylvania Underground Railroad Fall Colloquium and Chautauqua: "African American Patriots and the Quest for Freedom" to be held at the National Civil War Museum, Harrisburg, PA.

November 6 - Harriet Tubman Mentors and Matthews will participate in the Grand Review Procession, 9 a.m.-noon, Simon Cameron House, Harrisburg, PA. The delegates also will participate in an exhibit of rare items from the Matthews Collection.