Explore the architectural and cultural history of the landmarked St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. St. Augustine’s is one of a few churches in the country to preserve and restore its slave galleries, hidden rooms from its original 1820’s design created as spaces for slaves and free black New Yorkers to observe church services while remaining out of sight. Though the space is sparse, it is a haunting reminder that slavery in the North was supported and segregation was strictly enforced within the Christian Churches. If you are an Untapped Cities Insider, you can join this special tour for free! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today to gain access to free behind-the-scenes tours and special New York City events all year long!
You can learn more about the history of St. Augustine’s and the hidden galleries here!
- Explore the architectural design of this Episcopal Church from the 1820’s and how it supported racism and segregation of slaves and other people of color
- View a short 10 minute film that explains the discovery of the “slave galleries”
- Tour the two “hidden rooms” where slaves were forced to wait and view while their owners participated in religious services
DATE: Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 from 2:00PM-4:00PM
PRICE: FREE for Untapped Cities Insiders!
CAPACITY: 40 guests. Spots allocated on a first come, first served basis.
REGISTRATION: Friday, February 8th, at 12 PM EST
THINGS TO KNOW
- Wear comfortable shoes, as the tour requires walking up and down stairs
- The slave galleries are not handicap accessible and some steps are involved for church access
- Pictures are allowed, but no video, podcasts or ANY recording devices allowed
- Public restrooms are available
- ONLY water bottles allowed
St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church at 290 Henry Street was erected in 1828 and originally called All Saints Free Church before merging with the St. Augustine congregation that was on Houston Street in the 1940s. St. Augustine’s is the oldest church in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and the building is the oldest structure on the block. The slave galleries were restored and preserved by The St. Augustine’s Project. , a primarily volunteer run non-profit that maintains the space and educates the public on the legacy of the neighborhood’s African American communities.
A past light installation, How the other 1/2 lived, inside the slave galleries