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)

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Length: 1.5 hrs | 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)

Dates coming soon…

Length: 1.5 hrs | 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)

Dates coming soon…

Length: 1.5 hrs |  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.

 


Kuzaliwa

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Length: 1.5 hrs |  Meet up in front of The Apollo Theater in Harlem

Kuzaliwa brings you into the Harlem Renaissance. Kuzaliwa is a suite of creative works by the Black Gotham Experience that reflect upon the legacies of the Harlem Renaissance in the twenty-first century. Grounded by physical spaces in Harlem, connections within African diasporic culture Kuzaliwa emphasizes noting the relevance of Black creativity and political awakening on the island of Manhattan. We highlight Harlem as a space of flourishing Black culture and artistry unbounded by the narrow confines of historic eras. In naming this celebration “Kuzaliwa,” a Swahili word meaning “birth,” we also embrace Harlem as a place of encounter and imagination for thinkers and artists from across the African Diaspora.


Citizen Hope Part (1765-1838)

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Length: 1.5 hrs | Meet up at the BGX Studio on 192 Front Street in Manhattan

Citizen Hope is one of BGX’s final public walking tours. Situated in the temporal space of the revolutionary era circa mid to late 18th to mid 19th centuries, and traversing three different geographical locales along the trans Atlantic slave trade, including North America, France and Saint Domingo (now Haiti), Citizen Hope examines the contributions that enslaved people made to the modern notion of freedom, rights, and citizenship, while also grappling with the contradictory nature of these terms, particularly as it pertains to the black diaspora within the Black Atlantic.

State of Mirrors (1838-1883)

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Length: 1.5 hrs | Meet up at the BGX Studio on 192 Front Street in Manhattan

The finale of the five core stories of the Black Gotham Experience starts in New York City 1862. The United States of America is deeply divided on the matter of slavery and what to do with millions of Black people who are demanding freedom along with their European allies. State of Mirrors illustrates how the founding of the original states and the expansion of the country, similar to New York State, have connections to the African Diaspora. Simultaneously, this story follows how New York City, which is the nation’s first Capital, sets a tone for future generations that will replace true origin stories with mythologies that justify inequality.

 

Fighting Dark (1863)

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Length: 1.5 hrs | Meet at Tweed Court House at 52 Chambers Street NY, NY 10007

Fighting Dark speaks to a dark side of American history as well as the dark-skinned people who have been impacted by it, especially the Black New Yorkers who fled in the dark of night during the 1863 riots and those who enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War in what was called the “Colored Troops 20th Infantry” from New York City. This walk provides a platform to draw out lessons on how Black people find resilience in the face of racial violence.