Early Progress in ‘Black Gotham’

March 25, 2011 | CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center

Freed from the legal bonds of slavery by the state’s Emancipation Act of 1827, New York’s black leaders moved from local to national politics in the decades leading up to the Civil War. At a Graduate Center event, Carla Peterson, author of the new book, “Black Gotham: A Family History of Africans in Nineteenth-Century New York City,” focused on the experience of students at the Mulberry Street School and how it propelled them into political activism, as well as trade and business. “Education formed character, led to respectability, provided wealth and helped to make you cosmopolitan,” says Peterson, who discussed the challenges she faced finding source material for this forgotten part of American history, in a program sponsored by the Gotham Center for New York City History.
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