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.
Sarah’s Fire (1680 – 1712)
Formerly known as “Caesar’s Rebellion Part I”
Length: 1.5 hrs | Thursdays at 7:30pm | Meet up at the BGX Studio on 192 Front Street in Manhattan ***NOTE: On May 17, this tour will take place at 10pm as a late-night edition as part of Nerdy Thursday: Design Night***
Sarah’s Fire is set in the 18th century of British New York and shares a tale set on the southern tip of the island Manhattan that is home to the wealthy master class, merchants, pirates, sailors, indentures, prostitutes, free Black people, and enslaved Africans. This walking tour explains how the enslaved and free people of African descent worked together to subvert the system of slavery and define a culture of rebellion. Central to this story is an enslaved woman named Sarah, likely pregnant, who risked her life to fight for freedom. The fire that she weaponizes will reflect other rebellions taking place on West Indian sugar plantations and will culminate with the first armed Black rebellion in 1712.
Sarah’s Fire departs from BGX Nerdy Thursdays, the free weekly mixer featuring cocktails, culture and conversation.
Caesar’s Rebellion (1712 – 1762)
Formerly known as “Caesar’s Rebellion Part II”
Length: 1.5 hrs | Fridays at 7:30pm | Meet up on the stairs at the Museum of the American Indian | ***NOTE: On June 29, July 13, and August 10, tours meet at the BGX Studio at 192 Front Street between Fulton and John Street New York, NY 10038, to depart from Caribbean Cinema Nights.****
Caesar’s Rebellion picks up after the rebellion of 1712 when the political leaders of New York pass more laws to restrict Black movement. The port city of New York has shifting political and class divisions that shape the environment of the enslaved. Although stricter laws have been passed to limit Black life, the population of enslaved Africans continues to increase as does poor European indentures creating a large and loosely organized underclass. The result is another rebellion in 1741 known as “the Great Negro Plot”. Unlike most rebellions in the colonies or West Indies, the conspirators were tried in the New York Supreme Court which was documented in an extensive journal by one of the justices creating an insightful look into slavery, colonial law, class, and politics.