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Public Programs

Currently, all programs are online. All programs are FREE and open to the public.

Upcoming Webinars Date and Time
May 2021

'Momma, momma hide your child. The cops are shooting as if they're wild': Race, Police Violence and Perceptions of Criminality in early 1970's NYC

Sunday News clipping of 1974 headline reading BOY, 10, SLAIN BY PATROLMANIn July 1974, some 15 months after 10-year-old year old Clifford Glover was gunned down on the streets of Jamaica, Queens, New York City by Police Officer Thomas Shea, Charles E. Carter wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Amsterdam News. Emotional, frustrated, and angry, Carter declared it "was open season on New York Blacks." Carter arrived at the conclusion promulgated by Elijah Muhammed that "The Black man is a foreigner in the United States of America." Carter opined that all hope for any form of integration, or reconciliation, was at this moment lost. "I expect and want nothing from American white people," Carter declared, because the Shea case makes it clear to policemen to "shoot them (blacks) in their cribs." The murder of 11-year-old Ricky Bodden and 10-year-old Clifford Glover in 1972 and 1973 respectively, aroused anger and fear that white New York City police officers were literally gunning down Black children in cold blood, or as Carter claimed, "shooting them in their cribs." Egregious as these killings appeared to Black residents, the subsequent acquittals of the white police officers only stoked their outrage. The New York Times editorial page claimed that "the fear engendered by such neighborhoods seems to be at the heart of such cases." Indeed, although suspicion and hostility between Black communities and police officers had been a long-standing feature of urban life in the 20th century, the early 1970s in New York City appeared to be a seminal moment in the consolidation of blackness with criminality.

This presentation by Peter Vellon will examine the murder of Clifford Glover in order to gauge the Black community's reaction to police violence in early 1970s New York City, as well as how neighborhood's such as Jamaica, Queens, became closely associated with criminality.

Peter G. Vellon is an Associate Professor of History at Queens College/The City University of New York. He received his PhD in History from the Graduate Center/CUNY in 2003. His research has focused on late nineteenth and early twentieth century immigration to the United States and questions of race, whiteness, and identity. He is the author of A Great Conspiracy Against our Race: Italian Immigrant Newspapers and the Construction of Whiteness in the Early 20th, published by New York University Press in their Culture, Work, and Labor Series (2014). His articles have appeared in journals such as The Ethnic Studies Review and the Italian American Review and he has published several book chapters on Italian immigrants, race and whiteness. His current research strays from immigration and delves more directly into African American history, more specifically examining resistance among communities of color in 1970s NYC to systemic racism and policing.

May 13, 2021
2:00pm - 3:00pm

Jane Addams and Her Vision For America

Jane Adams and Her Vision For America book cover
In 1910, Jane Addams (1860-1935) was one of the most famous women in America, the revered founder of Hull-House settlement in Chicago, and a participant in virtually every social reform campaign of the era. But in 1917, when Addams publicly opposed America's entry into World War I, her fortunes changed dramatically. For more than a decade, she was vilified for opposing the war, as well as for her liberal social views. By the 1930s, however, concerns over the Great Depression were overshadowing the hatreds of the 1920s, and Addams found herself back in favor. Once again she was hailed as a great American, and in 1931 she became the first woman ever to win the Nobel Prize for Peace. Today, many people barely remember Addams' name. But it is still true that we live in a world she helped to shape, by the causes she supported and the people she inspired.

This course will explore Addams' remarkable life, and consider what it can tell us about social reform, about women's lives in early 20th century America, and about the practical challenges of trying to put our nation's democratic ideals into practice.

Sandra Opdycke, Ph.D. is a retired historian. She recently published When Women Won the Vote, about the woman suffrage movement. She has also written books about the flu epidemic of 1918, the WPA of the 1930s, and Bellevue Hospital, as well as a biography of Jane Addams, an historical atlas of American women's history, and several co-authored books and articles on social policy. She worked for a number of years at Hudson River Psychiatric Center, and later taught American History and Urban History at Bard, Vassar, and Marist Colleges. She serves as an occasional lecturer at the Center for Lifetime Studies in Poughkeepsie.

May 18, 2021
11:00am – 12:00pm

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Hidden in Plain Sight: Human Trafficking in New York's Capital Region

Satellite map of the U.S.Human Trafficking is a misunderstood phenomenon due to media sensationalism and misinformation spread via social media. Unfortunately, human trafficking occurs throughout the world, including the United States. Polaris (the National Human Trafficking Hotline) notes that the 22,326 human trafficking victims they identified in the U.S. in 2019 are only a fraction of the cases, as human trafficking is notoriously under-reported due to the failure of even victims to understand the crime that is being committed against them. As an attorney providing civil legal services to human trafficking victims in the Greater Capital Region, Mary Armistead will discuss what human trafficking has looked like in her experiences working with victims over the last three years. She will break down the definition of human trafficking, provide examples to illuminate, discuss myths and misunderstandings, and discuss the more prominent types of trafficking cases she has seen in New York's Capital Region.

Mary Armistead, Esq. is a staff attorney at The Legal Project providing direct representation to and building community capacity regarding victims of human trafficking. She provides representation in immigration, family, and employment law. Mary also teaches Immigration Law as an Adjunct Professor of Law at her alma mater, Albany Law School, where she graduated summa cum laude. Mary clerked at the New York State Court of Appeals for one year before working as the Staff Attorney of the Immigration Law Clinic at Albany Law School, both supervising students and maintaining a personal docket representing clients eligible for humanitarian immigration relief.

May 25, 2021
11:30am - 12:30pm

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Archived Programs: Selected past programs were recorded and can be viewed online.

Reasonable Accommodation: Please let us know if any reasonable accommodation is required (Americans with Disabilities Act) at least 1 week prior to the program date by calling 518-474-2274.

Location: Unless otherwise indicated, programs are online.

More information: For more information about these classes, call at 518-474-2274, or send an email to

You can also receive future program announcements via our Facebook page.

Last Updated: May 13, 2021