Session 1 – The Geography and History of Early Manhattan 1600 – 1776

Join Village Preservation for the return of our popular Black History in Greenwich Village Series. First developed as a part of our renowned, first-of-its-kind children’s education programs, it was so popular that we have now developed an adult version of this program to share with our entire community. Now updated with new and additional content we welcome the general public, teachers, students, and everyone interested to join us for this exciting 4-part series.

The first session will focus on the early history of Manhattan. Beginning with the Native American Lenape presence in New York City, we will explore the lives and impact of the first non-native visitors, residents, and businesses in Lower Manhattan. African American communities in Greenwich Village, such as Little Africa, will be covered as well as the leaders of this community. You’ll learn about the formation of the first free black community in North America, located in our neighborhoods, starting around 1643, whose residents included Manuel Groot, or Big Manuel, Simon Congo, and Manuel de Gerrit de Rues. We’ll discuss the role of the New Amsterdam Director General in affecting the lives of black people in the colony, including free Black men and women in the area of the Village known as the “Land of the Blacks.”

We will learn about the lives and experiences of people of African descent who were trafficked to New York City through the transatlantic slave trade from the 1620s to 1808. We will look at how slavery was enacted and enforced under Dutch, English, and then American control of New York City. Voting rights under these different controlling interests will also be explored. This session will begin to delve into the history and impact of the rebellion of enslaved people, the manumission process, and the abolition movement.

Each of these free sessions will be held via zoom and requires pre-registration. Check out the individual sessions for additional details about the content covered at each webinar. For this special series, we ask that registrants be present to participate. A recording of these sessions WILL NOT be shared with registrants nor the public after the session is held.

This four session series explores the history of the black presence in the Greenwich Village area of New York City from 1600-2020. Join Village Preservation as we outline the history of African presence in Lower Manhattan.


Monday, February 5, 2024
6:00 pm


Zoom Webinar

Pre-Registration Required

Click here to register for this webinar