In the spring of 2008 on New York City’s Lower East Side, Kamau Ware was working as a Tenement Museum educator, and giving the “Getting By” tour to a group of Black middle school students. Kamau explained how German Jewish and Italian immigrants struggled in the late 19th and early 20th century. At the tour’s end, one of the girls who had been silent the entire time raised her hand and asked:

Where were the Black people?

The question was deeper than one of geography. The question was one of identity – Where are Black people in the story of New York City and how did Black people get here?

Inspired by her question, Kamau Ware started creating the first Black Gotham walking tour in 2008. Two years later on August 25th 2010, this first tour debuted, combining history and visual storytelling to celebrate the impact of the African Diaspora on New York City.