Boom Town Press is a collective of activists, artists, journalists, students, academics and everyday people united by a revolutionary vision for Rochester. Join this media movement!

The BOOM! in our name Boom Town Press is a reference to upstate New York being a historically, world-impacting location of explosive revolutionary ACTION! The original Haudenosaunee confederacy formed one of the fiercest examples of indigenous resistance to colonialism. It was here that the Fox sisters conducted the first table-rapping séances in the area around 1848, leading to the American movement of Spiritualism – centered in the retreat at the Plymouth Spiritualist Church in Rochester, New York – which taught communion with the dead. Throughout the 19th century, religious revivals and the formation of new religious movements of the Second Great Awakening took place in upstate New York, to such a great extent that spiritual fervor seemed to set the area on fire, and the region was referred to thereafter as the “burned-over” district.

In addition to religious activity, the region was noted for social radicalism. The Oneida Society was a large utopian group that established a successful community in central New York, founded in 1848; it disbanded in 1881. It was known for an interpretation of group marriage in which the children of the community were raised in common. The Oneida Institute (1827–1843) was a center of abolitionism and the first college in the country to admit black students on the same terms as white students. Oneida Institute graduates would later form the bulk of writers for Frederick Douglass’ North Star newspaper.

The American feminist movement led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony convened in Rochester and Seneca Falls. And of course, the more radical elements of the abolitionist movement – John Brown, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman all had their base camps in upstate New York.

At the turn of the 20th century, Emma Goldman while living in Rochester would become a prominent figure of the American anarchist movement, and co-editor with Alexander Berkman of the magazine Mother Earth. Berkman would later break away from Goldman to form a more militant publication, The Blast.

Rochester in July of 1964, after several visits from Malcolm X, became the first city of Black rebellion north of the Mason-Dixon line in which the national guard was called to restore order.

This press collective is determined to ignite the fire again, by any means necessary.