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Mon, Jun 19


Hudson River Park, Pier 25 in Tribeca

A Juneteenth Historic Walking Tour: Monday, June 19th

Join us on an odyssey through Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights as we visit sites associated with the Underground Railroad and the Anti-Slavery movement in New York.

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A Juneteenth Historic Walking Tour: Monday, June 19th
A Juneteenth Historic Walking Tour: Monday, June 19th

Time & Location

Jun 19, 2023, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Hudson River Park, Pier 25 in Tribeca, West St, New York, NY 10013, USA


About the event

This event is free with a suggested donation of $10-20 to your guide, Hank Orenstein, Licensed NYC Sightseeing Guide and Associate Real Estate Broker, The Corcoran Group.

Neighborhoods Covered: Tribeca, Civic Center, Financial District, Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights.

To bring:  Picnic lunch, water to drink, snacks, sun protection.

As we recount the background of the Juneteenth holiday, we'll visit a number of historic sites in Brooklyn and Manhattan. While Manhattan became a leading force in the movement against slavery, Brooklyn, during part of the 19th century, essentially became sanctuary city in which blacks and whites played leaderships roles in combatting slavery sometimes at risk risk to their lives and livelihoods.

We'll start out where Frederick Douglass, landed in NYC after escaping slavery in Maryland who went on to become a pivotal figure in the Anti-Slavery movement. We'll discuss Douglass' brilliant 1860 analysis of the U.S.Constitution said about slavery. We'll continue on to key anti-slavery sites in Tribeca and Lower Manhattan, including the home and headquarters of David Ruggles, who was a key figure of the Underground Railroad and with Anti-Slavery organizations in helping runaway enslaved people in the 1830s, challenging southern slave catchers both through personal confrontation and in the courts who were permitted to come northern free states to reclaim their "property." He also was the first person of African descent to open a bookstore and to publish a magazine, "Mirror of Liberty."

NYC's history with regarding to slavey is quite complex: On one hand it became the most active city in the country with respect combatting slavery and in challenging the Fugitive Slave Act allowing recapturing escapees in free states like New York. On the other hand, NYC business interests were profiting from slavery due to their relationships with textiles and sugar that were produced in the south and shipped north for processing and manufacturing. We'll cover this fascinating history as we visit other sites including The African Burial Ground National Monument  the oldest and largest known excavated burial ground in North America for both free and enslaved Africans. 

We'll also visit sites related to slave rebelliions, early churches lead by African-Americans, Underground Railroad locations, along with an 18th century site of New York's largest slave market. And as a lead up to July 4th Independence Day we'll visit sites associated with the creation of the American Gov't. and the American Revolution, including Federal Hall on Wall Street where the Bill of Rights was drafted and presented.

Before heading to Brooklyn we'll have a lunch and restroom break.

Note: We will take the subway there. in Downtown Brooklyn we'll make a stop at the historic Bridge Street Church building, which was used by the African Wesleyen Methodist Church congregation starting in 1854 until 1948, and played an important and active role in the anti-slavery movement. Many escaping slaves were housed in the basement of this building as they made their way northward to freedom.

After a few sites in Brooklyn Heights we'll end our tour at the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims (pictured) which played a prominent role in the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movement. The head minister, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, according to Abraham Lincoln, who visited this church was "the most influential man in America."

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