In the 17th and 18th century, as New Amsterdam grew from a trading post into a village, a village into a town, and then a town into the port city of New York, its wealthiest residents were financially invested in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. And because they were among the most prominent of its early citizens, many of the city’s oldest streets are named after slaveholders and slave traders. An online database, New York Slavery Records Index, created by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, opens this forgotten history to public view.
During the past year a mayoral commission held public hearings and recommended that a statue of James Marion Sims, a 19th century American physician who experimented on enslaved African women, be removed from the Central Park wall at 103rd street and 5th Avenue in the City of New York. Unfortunately, the commission ignored much of the city’s deep connection to slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. [Read more…] about New York Streets Named for Slave Traders