Illuminating Forgotten Histories: New York City’s Early Black Communities

Schomburg Center

Celebrate Black History Month, at the Schomburg Center’s Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery and Village Preservation as they partner to illuminate aspects of New York City’s early Black neighborhoods. From Seneca Village, a community now being memorialized in Central Park, to Greenwich Village’s “Little Africa,” our group of experts will address the work of discovery, preservation, and documentation of these and other historically significant, but widely-forgotten Black communities.


  • Leslie M. Harris is a professor of history at Northwestern University and author of numerous books, including In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863 and Slavery in New York (co-edited with Ira Berlin).
  • Jamila Brathwaite is a trustee of the African American Historical Society of Rockland County. She is an educator and curator and has uncovered hidden histories of the African Diaspora, including Greenwich Village’s “Little Africa,” which flourished during the 19th century.
  • John Reddick is an architectural historian and Columbia University Community Scholar who is active in Harlem’s culture, art, and preservation. He’s lectured and published broadly, and recently served as a curator and facilitator of the Harlem Focus series at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt Design Center.
  • Michelle D. Commander is the associate director and curator of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center. She is the author of Afro-Atlantic Flight: Speculative Returns and The Black Fantastic, among other works.

  • Non-Insiders who wish to join this event can register for tickets tickets here.


    If you are already an Untapped New York Insider, log in to your account, and sign up for this tour on this page when registration opens on 2/4 at 12 PM EST.

    If you are not an Untapped New York Insider yet, join today and register for this tour on this page when tickets go live on 2/4 at 12 PM EST.

    If you don't see a "Book Now" button on this page, it means you are not logged in as an Untapped New York Insider and/or registration has not opened yet.

    Tickets are limited to one per member, unless the member is an Explorer level member and can bring a guest. Tickets are non-transferable and your membership must be active when the tour takes place. Each booking will be verified to ensure each guest is a member. 

    Please be courteous of your fellow Insiders – if you are no longer able to make a tour but have ticket(s), let us know at [email protected] so we can release those spots to other members. We hope you are as excited as we are about this experience and hope you can join us!

    See our full list of Untapped New York Insiders member events  and our upcoming public tours.

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    • Registration for this event opens on Tuesday February 5th, 2020 at 12PM EST
    • Date and Time: Tuesday, Feburary 18th, 2020 at 6:30PM - 8:30PM
    • Capacity: 15 guests. Spots allocated on a first come, first served basis
    • Meeting Location: Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture 515 Malcolm X Boulevard New York, NY 10037