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Kinderhook cemetery re-dedicated

May 14, 2017 04:20 PM

KINDERHOOK – A local cemetery where it's believed hundreds of slaves and free African Americans are buried was re-dedicated on Saturday.

The cemetery on Rothermel Avenue in Kinderhook was recently declared a state and national historic site. Experts say in 1815, an Irish businessman and slave owner designed a cemetery only for "persons of color" in his will.

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On Saturday, a sign was unveiled that explains the wording on the headstones, and the importance of the cemetery.

“I think Kinderhook would not be unusual as an upstate New York village to be surprised that slavery existed,” said Warren Applegate of Kinderhook. “They would be very surprised to know how many people were in servitude. It’s important that a reminder be there, not in any negative way but a way to be sure that the entire history of the community is known.”

More than 500 slaves and free African Americans are likely buried in the cemetery.

Credits

WNYT Staff

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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