Rapp Road Community

Between 1910 and 1970 over 14,000 African Americans chose to make Albany their new home. The majority of these folks came from the southern United States hoping to find work, less racism, and more opportunities for loved ones. The Rapp Road Community, located on the western edge of the City of Albany in the Pine Bush, is a result of this influx, known as the Great Migration. Many of Rapp Road’s original residents migrated from Shubuta, Mississippi, in the 1930s and 1940s with the help of their pastor, Louis Parson. They initially settled in Albany’s South End and then moved to Rapp Road where they built homes and raised families. Almost eighty years later, the Rapp Road community is thriving as many of the original families still live there, and annual community reunions with pig roasts at the community smoke house bring others back from across the country. In September 2002, the Rapp Road Community was added to the New York State Historic Register, and in 2003 it was added to the National Historic Register.

Louis Parson purchased land in the Pine Bush for members of his congregation (the First Church of God in Christ, now called the Wilborn Temple) because many of them did not enjoy living in the South End of Albany. They were accustomed to a rural lifestyle of hunting and farming. Until Washington Avenue Extension was built in the 1970s, the families living on Rapp Road enjoyed life in the country. The skin board illustrated here was used by members of the McCann and Toliver families for skinning raccoons and other small animals caught while hunting. Living in the Pine Bush allowed the original settlers of Rapp Road to recreate their Southern way of life in the North.


Magnifying Glass
Skin Board
c. 1950
Courtesy of Emma Dickson and the Rapp Road Historical Association
Magnifying Glass
Rapp Road Smoke House
Digital Photograph