Black History Fact Of The Day

Red, Black & Green Elsie Law Logo“For portions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, New York City housed the largest urban slave population in mainland North America, with more slaves than any other city on the continent. During those years, slaves composed more than one quarter of the labor force in the city and perhaps as much as one half of the workers in many of its outlying districts.” -From, “Slavery In New York”

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Black History Fact Of The Day: How Enslaved Africans Built Brooklyn

Red, Black & Green Elsie Law LogoI came across a 2012 Huffington Post article written by Alan Singer that explores how enslaved Africans built up Brooklyn. The article also discusses a Brooklyn-located African burial ground.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“At the time of the American Revolution about a third of the population of Kings County were enslaved Africans, but their contributions to clearing the forests, dredging the harbors, and building the infrastructure of Brooklyn has largely been erased from history. The former African cemetery in the Kings County town of New Lots is now a playground between Schenck, New Lots, and Livonia Avenues and Barbey Street under the IRT #3 line “El.” It is next to the New Lots branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

Ironically, the park is named for one of the largest slaveholder families in the area…The plaque mentions that the “park was the site of Public School 72, which was abandoned in 1944,” but it does not mention the enslaved Africans who lived there and built the early farms, roads, and homes of Brooklyn.”

Click here for a link to the entire article.

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Segregation In New York

“New York was a place of extreme wealth and dire poverty, of glittering Manhattan financial centers and teeming slums. It was the job of the NYPD to make sure the two universes did not overlap. There were no Jim Crow segregation laws in Mew York, as there still were in the South, but unofficial segregation was a fact of life. A significant aspect of policing in relation to blacks and Puerto Ricans was to make sure they ‘stayed in their place,’ both figuratively and literally.” From, “The Savage City,” By: T.J. English

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