Local Black History Revealed in “Brought To Light”

Brought To Light is a story of rediscovery, respect and change. In rural Upstate New York, the cleanup efforts by a few villagers of some stone markers in an overgrown field lead to the rediscovery of a forgotten, “slaves’ cemetery” in which hundreds of African Americans were buried during the 1800s. A portal to the past lives of Kinderhook’s lesser-known non-white population, the documentary explores Black History and the efforts of some Hudson Valley residents to restore respect to the Persons of Color Cemetery.

This one-hour documentary features the archaeological dig to place the interpretive sign, and a Ground Penetrating Radar Survey conducted at the site. Moving excerpts from the 2017 cemetery rededication ceremony and a dramatization involving oral history and the Underground Railroad are included.

Brought To Light guides viewers on a journey through history as it relates to Kinderhook and the Persons of Color Cemetery. Brought To Light is dedicated to those buried in the Persons of Color Cemetery and all who respect them.

Watch interviews with University at Albany Department of Africana Studies Adjunct Professor Dr. Roxanne Jones Booth, NYS Museum Bioarchaeologist Lisa Anderson, Curator of Historical Archaeology Michael Lucas, Columbia County Historical Society representatives, a TOP STORY report from Nia Hamm of NewsChannel 13, and highlights from Kinderhook Walks.
DVD EXTRAS show aerial views over Kinderhook and a photo gallery which gives a closer look at the poetic inscriptions barely legible on some of the headstones and markers at the cemetery.

Brought To Light is produced and directed by Journalist, Novelist and Filmmaker Barbara Reina. “From the moment that I first visited the Persons of Color Cemetery, I felt that there was an untold story here. While Brought To Light tells a factual story, lingering mysteries and unanswered questions about those buried in the cemetery remain,” Reina commented.

The documentary is narrated by Boston-based Voice Actor, Coach and Artist Demetria Bridges. Known as, “The Voice with the Velvet Touch,” Bridges has more than a decade of professional voice-acting experience. “I was honored to be included in Barbara’s vision and a part of her process of discovering truth while building community. Narrating this documentary blessed me with the rare opportunity to lend my voice to the nameless while bringing to light the forgotten stories of my history as well,” said Bridges.

Long-time Valatie residents Amy Freinberg-Trufas and Charles Logan provided their talents as voice actors in Brought To Light. Freinberg-Trufas is a trained actor, spokesperson, host and model who enjoys the process of filmmaking.

Freinberg-Trufas is featured in a dramatization recounting a piece of oral history connecting Valatie with the Underground Railroad. She commented, “I’m delighted to be involved with Brought To Light by Barbara Reina. It’s an important part of our history and offers us an opportunity to examine our past and illuminate our future.”

Charles Logan is the voice of John Rogers, an Irish immigrant who set aside a quarter-acre of his own land in Kinderhook for what is now known as the Persons of Color Cemetery. “Being of Irish and African-American descent, I find this local history interesting,” Logan said.

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