Stephen Myers was a slave who was freed at the age of eighteen. When he was freed, he worked many odd jobs to earn some money and take care of himself. Myers worked as a grocer, and steamboat steward but he had a passion for journalism and took on that career path in 1842. In 1827, Myers married his wife Harriet and they had four children together who was as much into journalism as he was.
Four years into his marriage, Myers took on a new role. He became an active figure in helping slaves that had escaped. He was very active in the African American community that had come about in Albany in 1813. Many others such as himself moved to the Arbor Hill area of Albany which was which was a racially integrated working class neighborhood. Myers was a prominent figure in trying to obtain rights for blacks. While being a member of the established African American community, he was a strong advocator for education and places to work within the African American community; he fought for things such as the right to vote, ant the right to receive not just any form of education, but a good one. Although he was an advocator for free blacks, he felt even stronger about those that were still enslaved and continued to help them the best way he could and that was by writing and helping slaves escape.
Myers’s embarked on his newspaper publishing journey by joining The Elevator. His stay with that newspaper did not last very long and he later joined the Northern Star Association. The Northern Star Association provided assistance to slaves that were had escaped or were trying to and Myers wrote for their newspaper which was called The Northern Star and Freedmen’s Advocate. The newspapers focus was on issues as to why slaves should be freed and education and employment for African Americans.
Although Myers was about the abolition of slavery and fighting for equal rights for blacks, he was also a family man. As his wife began to have more children they decided that they needed to move from their Arbor Hill residence. The couple began to look for a place that was suitable for them as well as suitable for Myers to continue his work. The Stephen and Harriet Myers home was built in 1847 by an African American man by the name of John Johnson. The neighborhood in which the house is located was predominantly lived in by working class people; the house is said to be an Albany townhouse due to its rear stairwell, 180 degree turns and the way the windows drop. The house resembles many others in the Troy area although no known architect is named.
Myers and his family moved into the house soon after it was built and began using it to help those in need almost instantly. A few years after they had already been living in the house, the Fugitive Slave Act was passed and this made things tough on those trying to escape slavery and those that were helping them. Although Myers was well aware of the penalties he could face if he continued to offer his assistance, he still helped slaves to escape; from his house fugitives traveled west, hoping to reach Canada and freedom.