Manumission of Mink, April 28, 1795

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
Explain what happened to Mink as a result of this document.
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Manumission of Mink , Other, Schodack_Manumission_Mink
Document Description
Manumission of Mink, April 28, 1795.
  1. Where was this document written?
  2. When was this document written?
  3. Who wrote this document?
  4. Who is Mink?
  5. What does this document do for Mink?

  6. How does manumission change Mink’s life?
  7. According to the document, what conditions did Mink have to meet in order to qualify for manumission?

  1. 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.

Manumission of Mink

We the Subscribers two of the Justices of the Peace

of the county of Rensselaer and two of the Over

seers of the poor of the town of Schodack in said

County being informed that a Negro named

Mink the property of Rulif Johnson of the Town

and County aforesaid and that the said Rulif

Johnson is inclined to manumit the said

Negro Man Mink ------------------------------------

We do certify that the said Negro man Mink

appears to us to be under fifty years of age and

Sufficient ability to provide for himself. ---------

Witnefs our hands this 28” day of April 1795


                        Jacob C Schermerhorn Justices

                        Nicholas Staats             of the




                        James McKoun Overseers of

                        Isaac Phillips     the Poor


The above is a true Copy of the Original Certificate

Certified and recorded this twelvth day of May

On thousand seven Hundred & Ninety Five


                        By me

                                    Theodosus Drake Clerk

                                    of the Town of Schodack