U.S.C.T. Institute

USCTI
The U.S. Colored Troops Institute for Local & Family History promotes original historical and genealogical research about the 200,000 colored men and their 7,000 white officers who comprised the U.S. Colored Troops during the American Civil War.

The Institute was established at Hartwick College in 1998 as an educational membership organization to promote and encourage research, preservation, and remembrance of the United States Colored Troops, inclusive of men of African descent, Native Americans, and their white officers. Since more than 80 percent of the USCT were formerly enslaved at the time of their enlistment, flight to freedom was certainly a reality for many of them.

Since its founding, the USCTI has emerged as a national and international resource for the study of the black soldiers and their white officers of the Civil War. The Institute’s focus has since expanded to all military conflicts, from the Revolutionary War through the Korean War.

The Institute offers Hartwick students the opportunity, as members of its Harriet Tubman Mentoring Project, to conduct research devoted to placing the USCT within the historical realm of the Underground Railroad. The USCTI assists multiple researchers, ranging from individual families to preservation organizations, Underground Railroad sites to the media. It has been honored with proclamations from several state governments and the Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust, as well as entered into the Congressional Record for outstanding historical and genealogical research.

The USCTI’s work is supported by the privately owned Matthews Collection for the Preservation of Freedom Journey Classics. It includes 2,500 items, including books about persons whose flight to freedom helped to energize the Underground Railroad, as well as a lithograph series by Civil War illustrator Thomas Nast.

The USCTI at Hartwick College was selected in 2008 as an endorsed site of the United States Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. In April 2011, USCTI was recognized by the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom as a “Facility,” acknowledging its verifiable association to the Underground Railroad story.


2017 United States Colored Troops Institute for Local History and Family Research (USCTI) Student Mini-Conference

On October 20 and 21, Hartwick College will host the annual United States Colored Troops Institute for Local History and Family Research (USCTI) Student Mini-Conference. 

Preliminary Schedule

Friday, October 20

4-4:45 p.m. Registration and Relaxation, Fourth Floor, Dewar Union, Room 410

5:45 p.m. Opening Dinner and Recognitions of USCTI Members, Chesebro Room, Dewar Union

6-6:45 p.m. Preliminary Conversation Regarding the Timeline of Presentations and Final Events

Saturday, October 21

8-8:45 a.m. Buffet Breakfast, Chesebro Room, Dewar Union

9 a.m. Opening Session, Celebration Room, Shineman Chapel House

9:15 a.m. Presentation One: The Transnational Journey: Oneonta and Otsego County’s
Place in the Freedom Journey [Harry Bradshaw Matthews, USCTI Founding President].
This presentation provides an introduction to the anti-slavery role of towns and villages lining the Upper Susquehanna River. For the first time, the name and story of an escaped slave who reached Otsego County in 1837 will be revealed.

9:30 a.m. Presentation Two: An African American Family Journey from Washington, DC
to Upstate New York [Randolph Johnson, USCTI Member and American Society of Freedmen
Descendants Gold Medal Recipient].
Mr. Johnson shares the journey from slavery to freedom for the Johnson family using cemetery records, census records, newspaper article and military documents of WWII to confirm family connections with Washington, DC and Syracuse, New York.

9:45 a.m. Presentation Three: Documenting the Darker Brethren and Sisters of My
Italian and African American Heritage [Aliyah Bridgett, Harriet Tubman Mentoring Project Member and American Society of Freedmen Descendants Gold Medal Recipient].
Ms. Bridgett explores the process of researching the Bridgett family history of North Carolina using
clues from oral history that were supported by military records of the Korean War, birth and death
indexes, marriage records and census records.

10 a.m. Break

10:15 a.m. Presentation Four: Reconciliation with my Ancestor: How a Confederate
Servant of the Civil War Left a Legacy for Future Military Descendants. [D’Asia C. Brockington, Harriet Tubman Mentoring Project Member and American Society of Freedmen Descendants Gold Medal Recipient].
Ms. Brockington shares her journey from oral history to the usage of military documents of the Civil
War, WWI and WWII, census records, birth and christening records, deed books and a register of free
Negroes to document the freedom journey of her Spratley family of Virginia.

10:30 a.m. Presentation Five: Claiming My Transnational Heritage Between Jamaica and
the United States [Elektra Hoyoun, Harriet Tubman Mentoring Project Member and American Society of Freedmen Descendants Gold Medal Recipient].
Ms. Hoyoun reveals how her oral history led her to various documents, such as the Jamaican Civil
Registration, secondary and primary sources identifying Jews, census records, military documents of
WWII, Virginia and New York death documents and social security records that linked her heritage in
two countries.

10:45 a.m. Presentation Six: Placing My Transnational Heritage Between Grenada and
the United States Within the Historical Context of the Freedom Journey [Destiny John, Harriet
Tubman Mentoring Project Member and American Society of Freedmen Descendants Gold Medal Recipient].
Ms. John uses her oral history to trace the immigration of ancestors to America, with the particular claim of one of them being a Pullman Porter of post-Civil War fame. Documents she used included United States Public Records, Ohio death documents, census records and sources of the A. Phillip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum.

11 a.m. Presentation Seven: Documenting Trilateral Roots in a Single Community
[Amber Lawson, Harriet Tubman Mentoring Project Member and American Society of Freedmen Descendants Gold Medal Recipient].
Ms. Lawson shares her case study of lineage to three families in Alabama using such documents as death records, marriage certificates, census records and military documents of WWII.

11:15 a.m. Open Discussion and Assessment of Presentations 1-7. Harry Bradshaw Matthews

12:15 p.m. Luncheon and Discussion, Chesebro, Dewar: Reconciliation between Blue and Gray
and Other Considerations [Darlene Colon, Vice President of the United States Colored Troops Institute and participants of the USCTI Min-Conference].
Ms. Colon will lead the discussion regarding whether or not the USCTI should expand its focus to include greater recognition of the broader Freedom Journey.

1:30 p.m. Presentation Eight: Affirming My Italian and Puerto Rican Identity. [Kayla Martinez,
Harriet Tubman Mentoring Project Member and American Society of Freedmen Descendants Gold Medal Recipient].
Ms. Martinez used a newspaper obituary, Puerto Rico Civil Registration documents, military records of WWII, marriage license and death record to verify her family history.

1:45 p.m. Presentation Nine: Tracing My South Carolina Roots. [Ashantai McCain, Harriet
Tubman Mentoring Project Member and American Society of Freedmen Descendants Gold Medal Recipient].
Ms. McCain expands knowledge of her ancestors beyond information in a family history book, including acquiring WWI documents and census records.

2:00 p.m. Presentation Ten: Connecting My New York and South Carolina Ancestors. [Symphany Rochford, Harriet Tubman Mentoring Project Member and American Society of Freedmen Descendants Gold Medal Recipient].
Ms. Rochford uses her oral history to expand knowledge about New York and South Carolina ancestors, using national cemetery records, census documents and military records for WWI and WWII.

2:15 p.m. Presentation Eleven: Expanding Upon the Killingsworth and Parler Lineage: The
Maternal DNA Line to the Fulani. [Harry Bradshaw Matthews, Associate Dean and Director of the Office of Intercultural Affairs & Founding President, USCTI].
Dean Matthews provides comparison between his documented lineage, including speculations, and his
maternal DNA findings.

3:00 p.m. Harriet Tubman and Freedom Journey Exhibit Open to the Public

4:00 p.m. Free Time

5:00 p.m. USCTI & ASFD Dinner Recognitions, Chesebro, Dewar Union

8:00 p.m. Activity TBA, Free Time


USCTI Contact
Harry Bradshaw Matthews
Associate Dean and Director
Office of Intercultural Affairs
USCT Institute Founding President
matthewsh@hartwick.edu

USCTI Newsletter: June 2017

USCTI Newsletter: December 2016

USCTI Newsletter: June 2016

USCTI Research Site

 

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