Sanctuary. Shelter. Welcome. These concepts have been built into the very walls of the Harriet and Stephen Myers Residence. From the days of meetings of Albany’s Vigilance Committee in the 19th century, the house on Lumber (now Livingston) Street has been a place to connect with the kindness of strangers, to receive a helping hand, and the resources to attain freedom. And now we must close our doors. Not forever, thankfully, but still – it hurts.
The Underground Railroad network, by its nature, attracted humanitarians of character and integrity. One little-known man who shone among them is John W. Jones, who escaped from slavery near Leesburg, Virginia, and helped more than 800 people to freedom through Elmira, New York.
Hidden in an unlikely location in a grassy area at the entrance to the Federal Express facility along Route 32 in Colonie, the Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground is a singularly important record of African American history.
Albany was a busy port city throughout the nineteenth century. During its most active Underground Railroad days, the city was occupied by lumber and other businesses at the riverfront and numerous retail establishments along Market Street (our current Broadway), Pearl Street, and corresponding cross streets.