Blacks in the Adirondacks: A History tells the story of the many African Americans who settled in or passed through this rural, mountainous region of northeastern New York State. In the area for a variety of reasons, some were lifetime residents, while others were there for a few years or months—as summer employees, tuberculosis patients, or in connection with full- or part-time occupations in railroading, the performing arts, and baseball.
From blacks who settled on land gifted to them by Gerrit Smith, a prosperous landowner and fervent abolitionist, to those who worked as waiters in resort hotels, Svenson chronicles their rich and varied experiences, with an emphasis on the 100 years between 1850 and 1950. Many experienced racism and isolation in their separation from larger black populations; some found a sense of community in the scattered black settlements of the region. In this first definitive history, Svenson gives voice to the many blacks who spent time in the Adirondacks and sheds light on their challenges and successes in this remote region.