Black History in Greenwich Village: Session 1 – The Geography and History of Early Manhattan 1600 – 1860

Join Village Preservation for the kick-off of our new Black History in Greenwich Village Series. This content was first developed as a part of our renowned, first-of-its-kind children’s education programs. It was so popular with children, teachers, and parents that we have now developed an adult version of this program to share with our entire community.

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.

Black History in Greenwich Village Series – Winter 2023

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. 

The program begins with a conversation 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. The series will discuss the children and descendants of the first Africans in America. These descendents owned property in Manhattan, built churches and schools, and created their own culture. Learn about Black Americans from our neighborhoods who fought in the Civil War, participated in the Underground Railroad, and were members of the abolitionist movement. 

As we move into the 19th century, we’ll share history, arts, culture, and activism of Black communities in New York City and Greenwich Village. Many critical threads of the movement for black civil rights in America over the last 175 years run through or have roots in Greenwich Village. This rich history and deep impact will be explored, and we’ll bring you through the 21st century. Discover the impact of Africans and Black Americans on the art, history, culture, and activism of Greenwich Village from 1600 to today. 

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. 

Note: All Village Preservation programs are designed to explore preservation, history and culture in a safe and welcoming environment. We cultivate a community that celebrates diversity, includes all people, and respects the identities of all participants. We expect participants to be respectful and reflect these values in their participation. Anyone who threatens, intimidates, uses hateful language, or participates in harmful behavior may be asked to leave a program and/or not participate in future programming. 

Find additional details and register to for Sessions 2-4 visit these links:

Register for Session 2 Here

Register for Session 3 Here

Register for Session 4 Here

Monday, February 27, 2023
6:00 pm

Black History in Greenwich Village Series – Winter 2023

Session 1: Monday, February 27, 2023

6:00pm ET


Zoom Webinar

Pre-Registration Required