What is Black Gotham Experience?

Established in 2010 by artist/historian Kamau Ware, Black Gotham Experience is an immersive visual storytelling project that celebrates the impact of the African Diaspora on New York City since 1625. Our mission is to reimagine the histories of the places directly impacted by the African Diaspora as human stories.  We explore these stories through interactive walking tours, a developing series of photography-based graphic novels, and a web series, weaving together art, research, fashion and entertainment. The heart of this experience are three stories that revisit Manhattan in 1623 and move forward through three centuries: Other Side of Wall Street, Caesar’s Rebellion, and Citizen Hope.

Why Black Gotham Experience?

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” We believe empathy, scholarship, and creativity liberate humanity to see, think, and behave outside of our imagined potential. By telling the story of Black Gotham, which predates the creation of New York City and expands to countries in Europe, West and Central Africa, the West Indies and South America, we tell a global human story that brings us to the same camp fire. Connecting people of today with forgotten people of the past in a visceral, visual manner satisfies the impulse of exploration, while also helping to create a better tomorrow.

Why now?

People worldwide are at a tipping point where they are yearning for a more inclusive and honest approach to history and society. From New York to Paris, from Amsterdam to Cape Town, from Accra to London, people are emboldened to discover the history that is missing from popular narratives – the history that is their birthright. Storytelling can be a solution – to heal, to enliven and to empower. And the stories of Manhattan are the stories of the African Diaspora, and the world.