Fulton Fryar’s Closet: Racial Inequality in 1950s New York State

Last updated:

This special first aired on June 22, 2018.

Guest-hosted by arts producer Paul Larson, this TV special and its webpage tell a relatively unknown story of racial inequality in 1950s Adirondack culture, and how memories of it resurfaced recently when a building at Seagle Music Colony (now Seagle Festival) in Schroon Lake, New York, faced demolition.

The building housed a young singer named Fulton Fryar. He was the first African American singer to study at the colony. In 1957 his sleeping quarters were kept separate from those of the other singers on the campus.

Begin your exploration here, by unlocking the secrets of Fulton Fryar’s Closet.  

Extended interview with Darren Woods the Artistic Director of Seagle Music Colony (Seagle Festival) discussing the challenging curriculum.

Interview with two of the people responsible for finding Fulton Fryar’s closet a new home at the Adirondack Experience.

Through these interviews, explore the reasons for the unequal treatment, even in a northern state, and the efforts to preserve Fryar’s sleeping quarters when the old building was about to be destroyed. Learn what role architectural experts, museum curators and concerned citizens are playing to make sure Fulton Fryar’s story will now be better known instead of completely forgotten.

Jackie Madison, president of the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association, shares her opinion about Fulton Fryar’s experience in the Adirondacks.

Additional interview footage with Executive Director David Kahn of the Adirondack Experience, Executive Director Steven Engelhart of Adirondack Architectural Heritage.