Black Gotham Experience walking tours bring you into a reconstructed New Netherland and British New York. Participants witness the impact of the African Diaspora on the making of New York City and the birth of the United States of America through real people whose images have been erased. Insight and empathy allow emotional connections to these character-based stories that stay with you after the tour ends.
Walking tours are available as private and public experiences. Public tours are organized in Fall, Spring, and Summer seasons which include special events such as open studios, talks, and exhibitions.
Other Side of Wall Street (1624-1664)
Length: 1.5 hrs | Saturdays at 7:30pm | Meet up at Washington Square Park under the Arch at 5th Avenue
The first of five in the core stories of the Black Gotham Experience 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 English take the island from the Dutch, making it the first free Black community in New York. This walking tour explains how this community started and how it continued to exist into the 18th century. Other Side of Wall Street concludes on the first day of British New York in September 1664.
Sarah’s Fire (1664 – 1712)
Length: 1.5 hrs | Thursdays at 7:30pm | Meet up at the BGX Studio on 192 Front Street in Manhattan
The second of five in the core stories of the Black Gotham Experience starts in 1664 in the small town known as Land of the Blacks on day two of British New York. Sarah’s Fire is a tale set on the southern tip of the island Manhattan that is home to both free and enslaved Black people. This walking tour illustrates the peculiar universe of urban slavery in a port city with deep ties to the sugar plantations of the West Indies. A key persona in this story is an enslaved woman named Sarah who is one of 29 people that participate in the first militarized Black rebellion on the island of Manhattan on April 6 1712.
Caesar’s Rebellion (1712 – 1765)
Length: 1.5 hrs | Fridays at 7:30pm | Meet up in front of Bowling Green Park in Lower Manhattan in front of the Museum of the American Indian
The third of five in the core stories of the Black Gotham Experience starts in 1712 in the wake of more slave codes passed in British New York. The port city of New York has shifting political and class divisions that shape the environment of the enslaved leading up to the 1730s. 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 that seek change. The result is a rebellion in 1741 known as “the Great Negro Plot” which is documented in a New York Supreme Court. The extensive journal by one of the justices stitches together a plot that evolved around a charismatic enslaved Black figure named Caesar. This journal gives an insightful look into slavery, colonial law, class, and politics.
Citizen Hope Part (1765-1838)
State of Mirrors (1838-1883)