NY Central Park's Past As An African-American Village

A recent article in Timeline reminds the reading public that creating New York City's renowned Central Park required the razing of Seneca Village, a thriving community of African-American freed slaves, migrants, abolitionists, and refugees.

Begun in 1825, Seneca Village eventually stretched from 82nd Street to 89th Street, along what is now the western edge of Central Park. By the time it was frazed in 1857 for the construction of Central Park, it was a known site for buying land when most landowners refused to sell to African Americans. Such purchases facilitated voting rights during a period where New York laws required voters to own at least $250 worth of real estate. And it is likely that Seneca Village served as a stop in the Underground Railroad. For more details, see the article here.

This recent entry joins a growing list of substantive accounts to be found at The New York Times (in 1997 and 2011), New York Daily News, CityMetricMental Floss, and NPR (in 2014 and 2015).

Map of Seneca Village Along West Side of Present-Day Central Park, 82nd to 89th (NY Historical Society)

Map of Seneca Village Along West Side of Present-Day Central Park, 82nd to 89th (NY Historical Society)