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Uncovering the Ruins of an Early Black Settlement in New York

 A scientific survey in 2005 of the grounds in Central Park where Seneca Village was believed to have been. Credit Mario Tama/Getty Images

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A scientific survey in 2005 of the grounds in Central Park where Seneca Village was believed to have been. Credit Mario Tama/Getty Images Q. Near the West 85th Street entrance to Central Park, there is what appears to be the corner of a foundation. What was it?

A. The foundation is a testament to Seneca Village, one of the first communities of black landholders in New York, which was destroyed in 1857 to create Central Park.

In 1853, after weighing several options for a great municipal park modeled after those of London and Paris, city officials selected a mostly vacant tract of land between Fifth and Eighth Avenues, and 59th and 106th Streets.

While more than 1,600 people lived in the footprint of the future Central Park, including the nuns of the Academy of St. Vincent and a number of farmers, the nearly 300 residents of Seneca Village represented the most concentrated population.

Seneca Village was between about West 81st and 89th Streets, and what would have been Seventh and Eighth Avenues, southwest of today’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The site is marked with a plaque honoring the community’s history.

It’s easy to see why the city picked this terrain for a park: the ground undulates, and bedrock pokes through at regular intervals. In other words, it’s not the easiest place to build the dense housing required by a growing city.

Neither housing nor open space was much of a concern in 1825, when a black shoeshiner named Andrew Williams bought three lots there; the area was several miles from the center of New York City, then concentrated below 14th Street. Several other black residents soon joined him in buying property, as did the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, whose building likely sat atop the foundation. (Seneca Village eventually boasted three churches, one of which housed Colored School No. 3.)

Oregon State University to Digitize Oral Histories of Black Railroad Porters

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In 2014 Oregon State University received the African American Railroad Porter Oral History Collection. The audio recordings made between 1983 and 1992 tell the stories of Black railroad porters in Oregon in the early and mid-twentieth century.

The collection includes 29 reel-to-reel tapes of interviews conducted by filmmaker Michael Grice that were used as background for his documentary Black Families and the Railroad in Oregon and the Northwest. 

Now the university has received a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust to digitize the collection and create a website to feature the digitized recordings and their transcripts.

To read more, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/03/oregon-state-university-to-digitize-oral-histories-of-black-railroad-porters/

WE MUST NEVER FORGET!!!

 

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Our forefathers oppression in this country by Europeans lead to the rise of the “Uncle Tom” as individuals or a mentality. The “Uncle Tom” or “Traitor” is any person complicit in the oppression of their own group that has lead to the destruction of our causes, initiatives, and in most cases our people. Here are my historical “top five”.

• 1. JAMES WORMLEY JONES
• 2. GENE ROBERTS
• 3. HAYWOOD SHEPARD
• 4. GEORGE WILSON / JOE LAROCHE
• 5, CLARENCE THOMAS

Your comments, opinions, suggestions are welcomed.

 

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MLK, Malcolm X & Marcus Garvey on Blackanomics

This is a clip collage from African History Network Blog talk radio show on Thursdays 8pm ET. Rarely or for most never heard quotes of MLK in regards to economics in the Black community.

Sam Greenlee interviewed on the making of his historical black film

SAM GREENLEE The Legendary Author of The Spook Who Sat By The Door.
Hosted by RUSSELL NORMAN.

Produced by SWAHILI MUSIC & FILM INC. (c) 2011 – SUBSCRIBE NOW!

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