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Letter from Killis to Mr. James Carpenter, Goshen, June 17, 1816

Killis Letter

Killis Letter

Other, NYSHA_SC_Carpenter_B102_F19
Document Description
Letter from Killis to Mr. James Carpenter, Goshen, June 17 1816.
Who wrote this letter and where was the author located?
When was this letter written?
To whom is this letter written and where did that person live?
How does the author describe himself?
What major event in the author’s life has caused him to write this letter?
What is the purpose of this letter?
How does the author close this letter?
Berlin, Ira and Leslie Harris. Slavery in New York.
            Johnson, Mat. The Great Negro Plot: A Tale of Conspiracy and Murder in Eighteenth
Century New York.
Singer, Alan J. New York and Slavery: Time to Teach the Truth.

About this Activity


Lesson Topic:


Historical Context
White New Yorkers were divided over slavery even after the close of the American Revolution.  They remained divided over the issue of equal rights for blacks far longer.  While gradual emancipation proceeded according to state laws passed in 1799 and 1817, other laws and the 1821 state constitution barred large numbers of free blacks from voting.  New York's black abolitionists had many allies in the fight to end slavery nationwide, but found fewer supporters in their quest for equal voting rights in their own state.  Following the Civil War, many white New Yorkers resisted the national movement for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal voting rights for all men.  As late as 1869, a majority of the state's voters cast ballots in favor of retaining property qualifications that kept New York's polls closed to many blacks.  African American men did not obtain equal voting rights in New York until ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870.
Essential Question
Was New York a perfect model for the best way to end slavery?
Check for Understanding
What relationship do you think the author has with the recipient of this letter? Use evidence from the document to support your answer.