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Nuts And the Underground Railroad

Molasses Almond Toffee, recipes below (photo from http://www.homegrown.org/profiles/blogs/using-your-creative-power)  
As part our on going series nuts and foodways and our larger series Feeding the Revolution that looks at the role food plays in social movements lets turn back to the antebellum period. I once delivered a Black History month lectured entitled, “The Ambiguous Character of the Underground Railroad: the agency of Black People in the South and the Hudson Valley.” My central argument was that the Underground Railroad was challenging to research and explain because it was a stealth and covert operation meant to keep the conductors (people like Harriet Tubman who helped to guide enslaved folk to freedom), stationmasters (people who provided clandestine lodging and food along escape routes) and investors (people who financed railroad and steamship passage, food, and funds bribe local and state officials) totally anonymous. After some serious digging I was able to find some interesting details on several conductors, stationmasters, and investors who I talk about in the lecture based on the available documentary history I pieced together. I want to talk today about Amanda Taylor (1806-1904). Taylor was born in an unknown section of New York with free papers. She somehow ended up in Arkansas where she worked as a nurse for Arkansas’ first governor, democrat James Sevier Conway (1798-1855). Conway served as governor from 1836-1840. In Arkansas Taylor used her “free papers” to help a young fugitive slave girl escape before Taylor returned to New York in 1837. She married Henry Foster, a barber, about 1845 and eventually opened what became a popular confectionery business in Tarrytown, New York in Westchester County. Proceeds from the confectionery store along with donations from the local Dutch Reformed and Methodist churches and residents in the Tarrytowns helped establish what became Foster African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Before the abolition of U. S. slavery, Amanda Foster and Foster AME feed and sheltered runways as a station house on the Underground Railroad. Today Foster AME, still located at 90 Wildey Street in Tarrytown, is a Nationally Registered underground railroad Station. Below are several candy recipes that seem so appropriate for this story about a woman whose confections helped feed a revolutionary movement.

Series Feeding the Revolution with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Feeding+the+Revolution

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