This week on The Historians Podcast, Arthur Piccolo has stories about the fascinating history of New York City’s oldest public park, Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan.
On Friday October 25, the New York City Commission on Human Rights will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans at the British Jamestown colony in 1619.
“Reckoning with Our Legacy of Slavery and Charting an Anti-Racist Future” will be at the New York County Surrogate’s Court (31 Chambers Street, New York). There is no charge to attend but you must make a reservation. Email Christelle Onwu at firstname.lastname@example.org by October 22nd, 2019. [Read more…] about Reckoning with Our Legacy of Slavery
Tudor City, the massive apartment complex on the far east side of midtown Manhattan, is often referred to as a city-within-a-city. Considered by some an architectural masterpiece, it was created by real estate developer Fred F. French. It’s said to be the first residential skyscraper complex in the world.
Beyond its sheer size — immense for its time — Tudor City set a pattern for urban residential development by creating from scratch what was designed to be an essentially self-sustaining community. The ways in which money was raised to build Tudor City in the 1920s made the complex an important milestone in the history of real estate development. [Read more…] about Tudor City: A Historic Manhattan Enclave
As part of the New York Times’ 1619 Project, examining the history of race and racism since slavery was introduced into British North America four hundred years ago, D’Angelo Lovell Williams argues that race and racism have long torpedoed efforts to implement universal health care in the United States.
According to Williams, federal policy, starting with the end of the Civil War in 1865, was based on the belief that “free assistance of any kind” to newly freed Blacks would “breed dependence and that when it came to black infirmity, hard labor was a better salve than white medicine.”
Those are beliefs echoed in politics and rhetoric today, but one of the worst racists in the United States Congress at that time, whose views shaped post-Civil War policy, was Samuel Sullivan Cox. During the 38th session of Congress, Cox led opposition against the formation of a Freedmen’ Bureau to assist newly emancipated Africans based on his belief that that African race was doomed to extinction by its inherent inferiority and inability to survive outside of bondage. [Read more…] about Racism’s War On Equality Has A Long History
The New York State Archives have announced that the program “Anna & Henrietta Mercy: Militant Maids of the Lower East Side”is set for September 8.
Sisters Anna & Henrietta Mercy were a dynamic duo of socialist activism in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As young children they immigrated to the United States from Austria with their parents in the late 1800s; as young women, they devoted their time and many talents to the East Side Equal Rights League’s agenda of women’s economic and political equality.
The recent death at age 99 of longtime Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau recalls his two attempts to run for governor of New York against Nelson Rockefeller. Obituaries featured brief references to his statehouse ambitions, but his 1962 run in particular is worth remembering for its national significance.
Morgenthau, grandson of Woodrow Wilson’s ambassador to the Ottoman Empire and son of FDR’s Treasury secretary, was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in early 1961 by newly elected President John F. Kennedy. He would soon be asked to aim higher. [Read more…] about Robert Morgenthau’s Statehouse Ambitions
Seventy years ago this month, a lower Manhattan courtroom provided the stage for a remarkable confrontation – much of which played out in New York – that symbolized the frustration of a nation that had recently won the Second World War but felt more insecure than ever.
The euphoria of victory had been quickly succeeded by a perception of global communism on the march. In Europe, the Soviet Union had only recently ended an 11-month blockade of Berlin and had, since 1945, rung down the Iron Curtain across Eastern Europe. In China, Mao’s communists were winning their civil war against Chiang Kai-Shek’s U.S.-backed Nationalists, who would soon flee the mainland for Taiwan. And the Soviets were about to end the U.S. monopoly on the atom bomb with a successful test explosion. [Read more…] about Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss in New York
Twenty-five teenagers from United Community Centers youth groups in East New York, Brooklyn were amazed to learn that not only was there slavery in Brooklyn during the Revolutionary era, but that the New Lots African burial ground was now covered over by a park across the street from their community center, a park named after the Schenk slave holding family.
Inconvenient history had been erased, but it might be rewritten thanks to local community groups and the efforts of City Councilwoman Inez Barron and New York State Assemblyman Charles Barron. Community residents are discussing rebuilding the New Lots Library on part of the site and adding a museum honoring enslaved African people who helped build Kings County and then were written out of history. [Read more…] about 5 Boros to Freedom Educates On NY Slavery
The Gotham Center for New York City History has announced Rethinking the Grid, a program looking at the NYC street grid, has been set for Monday, May 6th, at 6:30 pm, in the The Graduate Center of CUNY, Skylight Room (9th Floor).
Although the Manhattan grid plan was conceived over two centuries ago, its impacts on the city and the mystery surrounding its creation continue to foster controversy and debate. Four scholars will challenge some of the widely-held myths and misconceptions about it. [Read more…] about Rethinking the NYC Street Grid Event at CUNY
Over at the New York History Blog Facebook Page we recently asked the following question:
Which battle in New York State’s history had the most significant impact on the state?
The answers were surprisingly varied and included answers from the 1643-45 Kieft’s War (the war between New Netherland settlers and the Native inhabitants of Hudson River Valley also known as the Wappinger War) to the Anti-Rent War of 1839–1845.
We’ve reviewed the suggestions, and came up with a short list of five battles* which stand out as the most important to us (with short descriptions from Wikipedia) – what do you think? [Read more…] about Which NYS Battle Was Most Significant For The State?