Cresting across the Atlantic Ocean is a Portuguese slave ship headed to South America that is seized by Dutch West India pirates. Eleven men are removed from the ship and taken to Manahatta – an island of many hills and home to First Nations. These souls serve as “company slaves”, building some of the major public works of New Amsterdam that still exists today. Working together, they learn a new culture and strategize to gain freedom in a new world constantly in flux. Other Side of Wall Street is their remarkable untold story of discover, resilience, and dream. Now available this summer as a walking tour and graphic novel series.
Other Side of Wall Street (1609-1680)
Length: 1.5 hrs | Saturdays at 7:30pm | Meet up at Washington Square Park under the Arch at 5th Avenue
The first story in the trilogy starts in 1643 with the beginning of a small town known as Land of the Blacks right outside the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. By 1655, the Land of the Blacks was over twice the size of SoHo today and it continued to exist after the British took the island from the Dutch, making it the first free Black community in New York. This walking tour explains how this community started, how it functioned, and how it continued to exist into the 18th century. The creation of this overlooked Black town is the foundation to the Black Gotham Experience.
Mission: the Black Gotham Experience celebrates the impact of the African Diaspora on New York City.
Gotham was a fictive name given to New York City in 1807 by writer Washington Irving based on an old English proverb meaning “Goat’s Town”. Irving created a fantasy origin story of New York that has become part of the soul of the City. Over a century later, DC comics adopted the title Gotham as the fictional name for the home of Bruce Wayne (Bat Man) making the name even more synonymous with New York City. Gotham a real yet imagined place that exists simultaneously in the same space and time as New York City. Black Gotham is the collective story of Black people that begins with being stolen off Portuguese slaves ships and brought to the shores of Manahatta by Dutch pirates in the 1620s and have impacted and shaped this archipelago metropolis ever since. The Black Gotham Experience is the greatest New York City story never told.
The Experience is a public and expansive journey that includes walking tours through New York’s Financial District and a developing series of graphic novels. This multi-dimensional experience is organized into three stories that revisit Manhattan in 1624 and traverse through the next three centuries: Other Side of Wall Street (1609-1699), Caesar’s Rebellion (1700 – 1781) and Citizen Hope (1782-1883). The experience is an intersection of innovative and established forms of visual storytelling that recover the African Diaspora’s impact on New York City that has been suppressed and forgotten for centuries.
An innocent question started this journey that is an exploration in four dimensions. We are a community of creatives connecting the past and the present for the future. We celebrate the legacy of a forgotten people whose lives inspire us to appreciate all the kinetic elements of history. This experience is available for anyone who is curious about the impact of the African Diaspora on New York City. You can join a walking tour. Gain insight through our essays. Watch the creative process. Embrace our journey. Join our journey. We are living the Black Gotham Experience.
On June 25th 2015, we launched our kickstarter campaignto fund the production of our first graphic novel in the Black Gotham Trilogy – Other Side of Wall Street. Your support means a great deal to us and the people who need these stories. Please spend 4 minutes to check out our pitch.
Black Gotham Experience is growing in directions not thought about in the past 6 years and it’s taking root in places we didn’t know was fertile. Our kickstarter campaign put us in contact with a growing group of people who connect with this vision and magical things are starting to happen. Thanks to our kickstarter backers, this vision is becoming a reality and a dream at the same time. Major thanks to the 176 backers of the Other Side of Wall Street and the many more who are pushing this movement forward.
Saturday February 4th, MAKE HISTORY with the Black Gotham Experience (BGX) at the Brooklyn Museum in the Beaux-Arts Court from 6-9pm for #TargetFirstSaturdays.
The design team for the forthcoming Black Gotham Experience graphic novel, Other Side of Wall Street, including Kamau Ware, Adrian Franks, Clifford Washington and William Ellis will convert event attendees into graphical art and displaying them in the museum LIVE! The designers will create an interactive design performance that weaves an engaging visual narrative.
DJs Jah Medicine and GoodWill of Pure Magic will curate the soundscape and audible art, spinning an upbeat soundtrack appropriate for the occasion.