APRIL, 1856 - 5:30pm
198 Lumber Street, Albany, New York

Jefford: Dorian, how come you wanted to arrive so early? The Vigilance Committee meeting doesn't start for another thirty minutes! And what is this Vigilance Committee business?

Dorian: First things first. I wanted to arrive early so that we can see who's going to be here. Look, you see that stately man over there? That's Dr. Thomas Elkins.

Jefford: Yeah, so?

Dorian: He's a doctor who works with the Vigilance Committee. He provides medical care to freedom seekers .

Jefford: I didn't think African-Americans could be doctors, Dorian.

Dorian: It's very hard for People of Color to enter the medical profession. Dr. James McCune Smith of New York City had to study in Scotland. Prejudice exists even among abolitionists.

Jefford: What do you mean, Dor?

Dorian: Well, according to Mr. Myers, some abolitionists want to see slavery abolished but they don't want to see people of color working in their stores or living in their neighborhoods.

Jefford: That's crazy!

Albany Vigilance Committee flier, 1856
Courtesy, Antiquarian Society, Worchester, MA


Dr. Thomas Elkins
The Autobiography of William Henry Johnson

Lydia and Abigail Mott were Quaker sisters who moved from Berne, New York to Albany, New York by 1830. They were very industrious sisters, supporting themselves through a variety of jobs. They managed a boarding house, a linen goods store, a men's furnishing store, and they even tutored Frederick Douglass's daughter Rosetta.

Boat captain Austin Bearse tells us, in Reminiscences of Fugitive-Slave Law Days in Boston, that, upon his arrival in Albany, I called on the Mott sisters, ladies well known to the Anti-slavery friends in Boston and elsewhere. Miss Mott told me they had a slave secreted just out of the city, who was in danger. His name was George Lewis, . . . She brought him to my vessel at night . . . And I stowed him away.

George Lewis was safely transported to Boston, where he met up with his daughter Lizzie, also a freedom seeker.