Rochester's Roots: Honoring the first black-owned business

February 04, 2019 09:56 AM

News10NBC celebrates black history month by honoring people and places that have paved the way for many in the Rochester area. 

Born in the 1790s in Virginia, Austin Steward moved to Wayne County as a slave.

Advertisement – Content Continues Below

He eventually escaped to Canandaigua, his former master found him but Steward legally kept his freedom through the states gradual emancipation law.

Steward moved to Rochester around 1817 and despite violent opposition, he opened a meat market on South Main Street, the first known black-owned business in the city.

Stewart was involved in the anti-slavery movement and local education.

His autobiography, twenty-two years a slave, and forty years a freeman sold well.

His business burned down in 1842 and he moved back to Canandaigua where he died in 1865, he is buried in West Avenue Cemetery.

News10NBC honors Austin Steward as a part of Rochester's roots.


Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

Relay Media Amp

We no longer have Facebook comments on this site. Please visit our Facebook Page to join the conversation.