Book tackles early racial injustice in Upstate New York

Back in December, 1905, when Kingston still got its water from the Zena reservoirs and Cooper Lake was twinkling in the city’s eye, Oscar Harrison was murdered near the water supply. An African American man, Cornell Van Gaasbeek, in whose house the body was found, was charged with the crime and tried in Ulster County Court. He was defended by a local reformer, part politician Augustus H. Van Buren, as the trial unfolded amid the charged racial climate of the early 20th Century . . .

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