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  • Writer's pictureNia Clark

S4 E1 Part 1 - Blacks on Wall Street: How Black People Helped Build Wall Street and New York

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

George Downing and family circa 1890s (Museum of African American History)

An exploration of Black neighborhoods and enclaves in antebellum New York City during the 19th century. This episode illuminates: the origins of what would become Wall Street as a slave auction block; slavery's history in Manhattan beginning in 1636; how intertwined slavery was with New York's economy; the first free black community in Manhattan and how it evolved into one of the most notorious Black communities in Manhattan prior to the Civil War; and how free Blacks and enslaved Blacks co-existed in the same city. Guests include, Author, Historian and Northwestern University Professor, Leslie Harris.

By this time, the Dutch have brought, some women, for the comfort of the company's men as they say, and these men and women, some of them have formed families, so they are technically free. Their children, however, are not free and are subject to being, still enslaved by the company. And they also, in addition to agreeing to serve in the military for the colony, they also have to pay a certain amount of, their agricultural goods." ~Leslie Harris

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Guests in this episode

Leslie Harris

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