[Pictured above Left to Right: Epperson, Trae Harris, Franck Juste, Sawdayah Brownlee, Kamau Ware, Lesley Ware, Tann Parker, and Charles Johnson] Photo Credit: Erika Kapin © 2016
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.