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African American Freedom Journey

"One of the most poignant sections of 'African American Freedom Journey' deals with Gettysburg..." Off The Page, bi-weekly forum for writers at WSKG, public radio station in Binghamton, NY (2009/02/03) (Click the "Media" tab for link to hear streamed program).
Available as a hardcover and softcover edition.
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African American Freedom Journey in New York and Related Sites, 1823-1870: Freedom Knows No Color

Book Description (Annotation)

Meticulously researched, Harry Bradshaw Matthews discusses antislavery movements in African American communities in New York State, as well as Pennsylvania and South Carolina, and their role in national movements during the 19th century. He identifies and discusses black leaders, historic sites, and teaches how to conduct genealogical research. By compiling hundreds of illustrations consisting of newspaper articles, editorials, notices, and the name indexes of the 20th and 26th Regiments of the United States Colored Troops, Matthews gives a wealth of genealogical information. This treasure-trove will aid scholars and family historians for years to come.

Binding 1: hardcover

Pages: 480 pp.
Publication date: October 2008
Price: US $45.00

Binding 2: softcover
Pages: 480 pp.
Publication date:October 2008

Price: US $32.00
Imprint: Africana Homestead Legacy Publishers

BISAC subjects: HISTORY : United States - 19th Century; SOCIAL SCIENCE: Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - History; SOCIAL SCIENCE : Slavery; REFERENCE / Genealogy & Heraldry.

African American Journey

Employed in higher education for thirty-two years, Harry Bradshaw Matthews is associate dean and director of U.S. Pluralism Programs in the Office of Academic Affairs at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Black-Hispanic studies and political science from the State University of New York College at Oneonta and his master of arts degree in counseling education from Northern Michigan University. He has also worked at SUNY Oneonta, Northern Michigan University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Gettysburg College.

Matthews is the grandson of Richard Parler, Jr., of Denmark, S.C., who was enslaved part of his life. While Matthews was an undergraduate, the Jamaican anthropologist, Dr. Ena Campbell, encouraged him to conduct primary research on his family’s history. Becoming a noted specialist on the Killingsworth lineage, Matthews is a Killingsworth descendant from South Carolina.

During later years, Matthews published on genealogical research and intercultural diversity and awareness. He is author of African American Genealogical Research: How to Trace Your Family History and Whence They Came: The Families of United States Colored Troops in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 1815-1995. He also wrote Honoring New York’s Forgotten Soldiers: African Americans of the Civil War, Voices from the Front Line: New York’s African American Statesmen of the Underground Railroad Freedom Trail and the "United States Colored Troops Organized in the Empire State, 1863-1865," an essay in the inaugural issue of New York Archives, Vol.1, No. 1, Summer 2001, and an entry on the United States Colored Troops for the Encyclopedia of New York, released by Syracuse University Press in 2005. His expertise garnered him regional and national media attention, from A&E Cable Network Magazine, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and others. Matthews also is profiled in Civil War Reenactment: Grand Review 2000, a video by Emmy-Award winning producer, Russ Hodge.

Matthews is founding president, senior fellow, and executive director of the United States Colored Troops Institute (USCTI) for Local History and Family Research, a national membership body headquartered at Hartwick College. He and the USCTI have garnered awards and recognition, including a 2003 Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust Award and proclamations from New York’s Governor Pataki in 1998, honoring the United States Colored Troops from the Empire State, and in 2006, declaring Issac Newton Arnold Day. Matthews is an appointed member, 2006-2007, of the New York State Commissioner of Education’s Advisory Council for State and Local History.

Harry Matthews


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The depth and complexity of the role of African-Americans in our history is reflected in a new book, “African American Freedom Journey in New York and Related Sites, 1823-1870: Freedom Knows No Color.”  The author is Harry Bradshaw Matthews, associate dean and director of U.S. Pluralism Programs at the U.S. Pluralism Center at Hartwick College in Oneonta. ... 

The freedom journey lasted longer than the crucial years of the title – years marked by the rise of the abolitionist movement, the Fugitive Slave Act, the Underground Railroad and the Civil War. ...


The journey reaches an important destination when Mr. Matthews turns to the personal condition and experiences of members of United States Colored Troops in the Civil War.  There was objection to allowing Black persons to take up arms – even President Lincoln was initially reluctant and New York Governor Horatio Seymour remained opposed.  Treatment of colored prisoners of war could be cruel and inhuman.  But the troops fought with discipline and valor and were hailed as heroes in the North, even though the U.S. Armed Forces would not be racially integrated for nearly another century.  

One of the most poignant sections of “African American Freedom Journey” deals with Gettysburg – not the tremendous and decisive battle that was fought there, but the experiences of Black soldiers who lived in that Pennsylvania town, many of whom were escapees from the South. 

OFF THE PAGE WSKG Radio (source)

OFF THE PAGE WSKG Radio (source)




Contents, Preface, chapters 1 to 3 preview (secure PDF file)

© 2008 Harry Bradshaw Matthews.

Read-only secure preview. No editing, copying or printing allowed.

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For the media

Press releases, Web articles, radio interview, other appearances

Matthews to Speak at USCT Grand Review Commemoration
July 22, 2010 (Hartwick College)

Unsung abolition heroes praised
By Gitana Mirochnik / The Citizen
Saturday, February 21, 2009 11:43 PM EST

New York State Library, 12:15-1:15 p.m., 7th Floor, Associate Dean Matthews discusses the Freedom Journey, 5 February 2009.

Tracing the paths of Black history: African American Freedom Journey in New York and Related Sites, 1823-1870: Freedom Knows No Color by Harry Bradshaw Matthews
LISTEN to the program in streaming audio
LIVE Tuesday, February 03, 2009 at 1pm,
rebroadcast at 7pm on WSKG Radio

A 10th Year Retrospective
Program announcement (see bottom of page)
LIVE Tuesday, January 06, 2009 at 1pm,
rebroadcast at 7pm on WSKG Radio

145th anniversary commemorative of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, panelist on 19 Nov 2008.
(HTML November 6, 2008, 8:12 pm)

Harry Bradshaw Matthews Unveils African Americans' Freedom Journey
(PDF) 31 Oct 2008

Additional bio information

Harry Bradshaw Matthews
Hartwick College Web site




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