Explore Newburgh’s rich Black history with a walking tour ‘In Washington’s Shadow’
News 12 is honoring Black History Month by exploring the city of Newburgh's rich African American history on this Road Trip: Close to home.
Resident Tashae Smith developed a self-guided audio walking tour on Soundandstory.org.
The former Alsdorf Hall School of Music and Dancing at 93 Liberty Street is the first stop on the tour. It was used by the Alsdorf family, former slaves and Underground Railroad activists. “Those are the historic vibrations from more than 100 years of sound and music echoing from this location," explains Smith.
Then head around the corner to the oldest African American church in the Hudson Valley and the first in the city of Newburgh. The American Methodist Episcopal Zion church is a center of faith for many residents.
The church still stands with a beautiful facade that pays homage to its history.
The tour continues down Washington Street to the Alsdorf House. It was a safe house for runaway slaves. For the past 28 years — it has stood as a Black-owned liquor store.
The final stop on the walking tour is what was once known as The Colored School. This whole area at the corner of Washington and Lake streets is part of the forgotten history of the city where not a lot of information survives today. One piece of information could be verified: "After 24 years of operation, the colored school was officially closed and the African American children were integrated into Newburgh's surrounding grammar schools.”