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  • NYS Writers Institute

"Searching for Timbuctoo": Film screening with panel discussion on Friday, Nov. 12


7 p.m., film screening followed by panel discussion

Page Hall, UAlbany Downtown Campus

135 Western Avenue, Albany 12203

Free parking in the Thurlow lot on Western Avenue, across the street from the downtown campus. See map below. ↓

In the mid-1800s, abolitionist and real estate baron Gerrit Smith devised a “scheme of justice and benevolence” that he hoped would provide refuge to black families. This film reconstructs the nearly forgotten history of that refuge, the pre-Civil War Adirondack settlement of African American homesteaders known as “Timbuctoo.”

The film also follows an archaeology team looking to unearth evidence of the community. Featured voiceovers in the film include civil rights activist Alice Green, Congressman Paul Tonko, former Sierra Club president Aaron Mair, and WAMC’s David Guistina.

Paul Grondahl, NYS Writers Institute Director, will moderate the panel discussion with guests

Paul Miller, Writer/director

Amy Godine, author and independent historian, curator of the Dreaming of Timbuctoo exhibit at John Brown Lives!

Dr. Hadley Kruczek-Aaron, Professor and chair, Department of Anthropology, SUNY Potsdam

Dr. Jennifer Burns, Lecturer, Africana Studies Department, University at Albany

Dr. Alice Green, Executive Director, Center for Law and Justice.

Paul Miller is an independent writer, filmmaker and photographer based in upstate New York. As 20-year veteran of broadcast and cable television, he has worked for national shows and networks, including The History Channel, National Geographic Channel, PBS headquarters, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. He currently serves as Senior Director of Advancement Communications at UAlbany.

Cosponsored by the New York State Museum. An excerpt of the film "Searching for Timbuctoo" is now featured in an exhibit in Adirondack Hall at the NYS Museum.



All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask or other face covering while inside any UAlbany owned, operated or leased building.

Unvaccinated individuals are also required to wear face coverings in all outdoor settings. This revised mask requirement will remain in place until the University removes the requirement upon the recommendations of the CDC or other public health officials. Individuals should not attend our in-person events if they — or anyone in their household — are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.


Courtesy parking for Writers Institute events on the Downtown Campus will be available in the Thurlow Street Parking Lot one hour prior to and one hour after events.



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