By Tim Rowland
On a sun-dappled afternoon along what was once the Adirondack frontier, a hateful slur was put to rest for good, and in its place blossomed an emphatic tribute to a man whose name was very nearly lost to time.
With a sizeable crowd gathered Saturday, Sept. 16, on the side of a lonely country road, a sign was unveiled officially changing the name of Negro Brook in Vermontville to John Thomas Brook, named for a 19th century Black farmer whose lands were nearby.
“This name change is not erasing history,” said Paul Smith’s professor and historian Curt Stager. “This is recovering history that has been erased.”
John Thomas was born into slavery on Maryland’s Eastern shore. In 1840, the sale of his wife and children drove him to escape from his plantation on the Underground Railroad headed north.
Read the full story in the Adirondack Explorer.
Photo courtesy of John Brown Lives!