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SUNY Research Foundation, College at Brockport (Brockport, NY 14420-2997)
Jose R. Torre (Project Director: March 2014 to May 2016)
The Rochester Reform Trail: Women's Rights, Religion, and Abolition on the Genesee River and the Erie Canal

Two one-week workshops for seventy-two school teachers on the iconic nineteenth-century reform landscape of Rochester, New York.

This program examines Rochester's central role in American reform history and its legacy in American life and thought. The project is organized around two fundamental perspectives: 1) Rochester's vivid landmark geography illuminates the way that American reform was rooted in a new ideology of progress, and 2) Rochester's status as a home base for several of the nation's most important reform leaders underscores the relationship between grand movements for social change and the physical forces that inspired them. Participants visit a rich selection of reform sites including the Erie Canal and Broad Street Aqueduct; the Susan B. Anthony House; Seneca Falls, home to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and site of the first women's rights convention; the Frederick Douglass Collection at the University of Rochester; Third Presbyterian Church, where radical preacher Charles Grandison Finney initiated the Second Great Awakening in the 1830s; and the gravesites of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Scholarly lectures connected to these guided field trips explore in depth technological and economic changes and their relationship to the reform movement; the rise of religious reform in western New York, particularly the activism of Presbyterian minister Charles Finney; black activism in Rochester and Frederick Douglass's editorial career; women's rights activism and the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848; and Susan B. Anthony, her efforts for women's suffrage, and the Fifteenth Amendment. Jose Torre (State University of New York [SUNY] at Brockport) leads the workshop; visiting scholars include notable historians of early American history and reform movements Erik Seeman (SUNY-Buffalo), Alison Parker (SUNY-Brockport), Carol Faulkner (Syracuse University), and Richard Newman (Rochester Institute of Technology). In partnership with the College at Brockport, the Strong National Museum of Play, with state-of-the-art facilities and proximity to Rochester, hosts the workshop.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Landmarks of American History

Education Programs

$157,496 (approved)
$146,395 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2014 – 12/31/2015