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Lunch and Learn: Lyman Eppes – Black Yankee and Adirondack Pioneer

June 11 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Amy Godine’s new book, The Black Woods: Pursuing Racial Justice on the Adirondack Frontier (Cornell, Fall 2023), tells the story of a rich abolitionist’s bid to colonize the Adirondack wilderness in 1846 by donating 120,000 acres to 3,000 impoverished Black New Yorkers before the Civil War. Gerrit Smith’s land gifts aimed to ease Black access to the ballot in an age when landless Black New Yorkers were disenfranchised. Frederick Douglass and New York’s leading Black reformers promoted Smith’s proposal with zeal.

What does this story have to do with Connecticut?

Join us for this virtual presentation, as Amy Godine traces this Adirondack story back to two key players that have Connecticut roots: Lyman Eppes and John Brown. The militant abolitionist, John Brown, born in Torrington, Connecticut, was an advocate of Smith’s plan and moved his family to Timbuctoo, a new Black enclave in the Adirondack woods in 1849.

Amy Godine will also introduce us to one of Smith’s grantees, Lyman Eppes, who was born in Colchester, Connecticut. Eppes migrated to the Adirondacks with his family in 1849 and became Brown’s close friend and confidante. In his new home, North Elba, Eppes co-founded two churches, a singing school, and his town’s first library. The Eppes family’s tenure in the region spanned almost a century.

Get free tickets now to receive the Zoom link! Questions? Contact Public Programs and Special Events Coordinator, Jen Busa via email at

About the Speaker: Publishers Weekly called Amy Godine’s The Black Woods: Pursuing Racial Justice on the Adirondack Frontier (Cornell, 2023), an “eye-opening…vital contribution to African American history.” From Saratoga Springs, New York, Amy Godine has been publishing articles and essays about Adirondack Black, ethnic, migratory, and labor history, since 1989.


June 11
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Connecticut Museum of Culture and History



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