The History Of The Black Vote: Part 1

Black Voters“The first premise of the argument to deny black New Yorkers the vote asserted that African-Americans were by nature incapable of responsibly exercises this precious right of self-rule. ‘The minds of the blacks are not competent to vote,’ argued one [New York State Constitutional] Convention member. ‘They are too ignorant to know whether their vote is given to elevate another to office, or to hang themselves upon the gallows,’ said another. Left to their own devices the argument went, blacks would sell their votes to the highest bidder- who, thesis Republicans feared, would probably be federalists. Suffrage restriction recapitulated and strengthened the thinking of the American Colonization Society, which asserted that freedom was one thing but political equality quite another. Republican convention delegate Peter Livingston was willing to grant blacks freedom, legal protection, and religious liberty. ‘But if they are dangerous to your political institutions,’ he warned his fellow delegates, ‘put not a weapon in their hands to destroy you.’…

To such thinking there could be no right hand response. ‘Do our prejudices against their color destroy their rights as citizens?’ Asked Federalist Abraham Van Vechten. White New Yorkers decided that they did. The convention removed all property restrictions on white men only to impose a $250 property requirement on black voters. By 1826, further limits on white voting were removed, yet by then only sixteen blacks in New York County could vote.”-From, “Slavery in New York”

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Tumblr Email

WDIA: The First Radio Station In America Programmed For Black Listeners

WDIAWhite-owned radio station WDIA, first went on the air on June 7, 1947. Its original musical format was country and light pop. However, this programming was not successful for station owners John Pepper and Dick Ferguson. Therefore, they decided to change the format and broadcast black music. The change in format made the station a success.

Musicians like B.B. King and Rufus and Carla Thomas were hired to be on-air personalities at WDIA.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Tumblr Email

On This Day In 1898: The Wilmington Insurrection

Wilmington Race Riot 1898The Wilmington race riot of 1898 is also historically known as the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, and the Wilmington Coup d’etat of 1898. This incident is reportedly the only instance of and attempted coup d’etat in the history of the United States.

On November 10, 1898, members of the Democratic Party attempted to overthrow elected officials in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Democratic Party members were purportedly angered that the Wilmington city council included elected officials who were African American. Therefore, they sought to oust the government officials.

During the racist riot, a group of 2,000 white people attacked the African American residents of Wilmington, killing dozens. The rampaging group destroyed neighborhoods and burned down the headquarters for the Daily Record, the only black newspaper in North Carolina.

While this savage attack went on, President William McKinley refused to send aid to the victims and residents who appealed to him. His reason for his dereliction of duty was that the governor had not requested his help.

In the aftermath of the riot, Wikipedia states: “More than 2,100 blacks left the city permanently, having to abandon their businesses and properties, turning it from a black-majority to a white-majority city.”

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Tumblr Email

Black History Fact Of The Day: How NYC’s Wall Street Got Its Name

Wall Street 1600sIn March 1653, Peter Stuyvesant, the director of the slave-trading Dutch West India Company and the Director-General of New Netherland, now known as New York, ordered slaves to build blockades to serve as protective barriers for the area of lower Manhattan.

Stuyvesant reportedly demanded that the log-made barricade be “12 feet long, 18 inches in circumference, sharpened at the upper end,” and stretch from “river to river across Manhattan Island.

The slaves were burdened with the task of building “The Wall” to help shield the Dutch settlers from New Netherland’s native inhabitants.

After the construction of “The Wall,” the area on which the wall was located was called Wall Street.

[Bibliography: Slavery In New York]

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Tumblr Email

When Washington Square Park Was Owned By African Americans

Washington Square ParkRecently, burial vaults were discovered underneath Washington Square Park. Archaeologists are reportedly still trying to determine the exact origins of the vaults; however, they claim that they believe the vaults date back to the 19th century.

Way before the 19th century, African Americans who were brought to the United States as chattel, owned approximately 130 acres of land that comprise and surround the are in New York City that is presently known as Washington Square Park.

Ownership of the parcel of land was granted to a group of African Americans in the mid-17th century. The brewing conflict between Dutch “settlers” and the Native Americans was the catalyst for this land ownership. The Dutch granted the Africans ownership of the land in an attempt to create a geographic buffer between themselves and the Native Americans, thereby potentially protecting them from attacks by the Natives.

The Dutch granted Africans land between Manhattan’s southern tip- where they settled, and Manhattan’s northern area- where the Native Americans resided.

It will be interesting to see if the discovered vaults are announced to have any African American connections.

[Bibliography: Slavery In New York]

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Tumblr Email