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Airdate: May 16, 2019
Scientist: Albert James (A.J.) Williams Myers

The Power of Celebration

The Power of Celebration
For African slaves in the Hudson Valley, the colonial Pinkster celebration offered a rare opportunity for reuniting with family and friends.

Transcript:
PINKSTER - Reunionambience: drumming, clappingHeres a program from our archives.In the days when African slaves worked on many of the farms and mills of New York State, a holiday called Pinkster offered them the rare chance to reunite with other slaves in the region. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Albert James Williams Myers is the author of a book on the African American presence in Hudson River valley and a Professor of Black Studies at the State University of New York in New Paltz.Myers: So it is a time in which African people come together for purposes not only of celebrating but of knowing that others are still around. Because they're coming not only from Manhattan, they're coming from Brooklyn; they're coming from Jersey; they're coming from Westchester County. So they're all congregating. This is one of the few times that a diversity of Africans from various parts of the region come together to celebrate.Pinkster was also a chance to take part in traditional African dancing and music, much like the drumming that we're listening to right now.Myers: It's a time when Africans that are born in America and Africans who are born in Africa come together. The Africans from Africa are seen as ambassadors because they come with the traditions you know quite rich. And they are imparting to those who are born in America traditions that their ancestors have passed along to them.Our thanks to the group the Children of Dahomey for the music we've been listening to.Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Endowment for the humanities. I'm Jim Metzner. Weve been listening to a program from our archives. If you want to hear more, check out our podcast.