In the Tenement Museum’s newest neighborhood walking tour, Reclaiming Black Spaces, we’ll highlight stories of how Black and African Americans shaped Lower Manhattan as they made homes, businesses, and communities there over the centuries. Discover what drew Black New Yorkers to Lower Manhattan, and how their experiences were shaped by that migration, how those communities created a sense of home, and how they resisted the racism they faced. From the story of Sebastiaen de Britto, one of the first Black residents of the area in the 1640s, to Studio We, a musician’s collective in the 1970s, we’ll look through windows into the past that expand the history of today’s Lower East Side.
Among others, stops on this tour include:
- The former downtown New York office of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), who fought for Civil Rights in the 1960s
- The firehouse desegregated by Wesley Williams in 1919, who became the FDNY’s first Black lieutenant
- M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden, named in memory of the “second” 18th century African American burial ground that was located on nearby Chrystie Street
Not in the neighborhood? You can take Reclaiming Black Spaces as a virtual tour!