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Fire and Freedom :

The Traveling Exhibit

an enslaved women carries a tray in a stately home, a white colonial man sits by herThe words Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early america appear around an outline of a plate and silverware


Background: a brown map of 13 colonies sit. Foreground: An enslaved person carries a tray in front of a large estate

Exhibit on View 

Jan 6th - Feb 15th, Regular Library Hours  

Troy Saving Bank Atrium, Marvin Library

In the Chesapeake region of the United States, during the early colonial era, European settlers survived by relying upon indentured servants and slave labor for life-saving knowledge of farming and food acquisition. Europeans suffered poor nutrition and widespread illness caused by the lack of medical care. Despite their perilous position, colonists used human resources, the natural environment, and maritime trade to gain economic prosperity. But, it is through the labor of slaves, like those at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, that we can learn about the ways that meals transcend taste and nutrition.

For more information on the exhibit visit the National Library of Medicine's website.

Hudson Valley Community College is one of 50 institutions across the country presenting the exhibit.   


Calendar of Events

Fire and Freedom: Looking at the Exhibit through New York Eyes

Join us for a special Voices Lecture!

Wednesday, February 5. 11 - 11:50 a.m. Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium

In the traveling exhibit Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America, George Washington’s plantation, Mount Vernon, serves as a lens into the world of food and enslavement in colonial Virginia. Culinary historian Lavada Nahon compares the depiction of Mount Vernon with the unique food culture of colonial New York. 

Get more information on Voices: A Library Lecture Series here. 


Food Demonstration and Discussion 

Wednesday, February 12th  11 am Marvin Library Learning Commons Multipurpose Room (MRV235)

Join us as Prime at HVCC’s executive Chef Alex Kennedy celebrates the influence of culture on the food we eat every day. Learn to make (and taste!) recipes inspired by  Sweet Home Café, the cookbook and restaurant of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. All attendees will be entered to win a copy of the book! Pre-registration is required and space is limited! Register by clicking the link below!

*Registration will be open only to students till February 6th at noon. After which remaining seats will be opened for faculty/staff. If you register after the limit is met you will be placed on a waiting list.



Related Resources


This exhibition was produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health with research assistance provided by the staff at The Washington Library at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Curated by Psyche Williams-Forson, PhD