As the story of the African-American Experience in most regions of the United States begins in bondage, a similar story is told in the mid-Hudson Valley. Appearing as human chattel in the advertisements, wills, vendues, and inventories of their white masters, early Black Americans were isolated from the representative society that was founded during the infancy of the United States, and forced into the restrictive columns of inventories and ledgers. Their economic value, more so than anything else, is what was documented from the very beginning of their existence in the early Dutch and British colonies. Although the documents found here provide only a very clinical perspective of the institution of slavery in the Mid-Hudson Valley, they represent our only avenue towards deeper understanding of the realities of early African American lives.