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A city street with buildings, cars and pedestrians showcasing 'story 1' location

Southernmost Point of the High Line • SE View of Greenwich Village

Over 130 acres of Lower Manhattan stretching from Chinatown into SoHo, Greenwich Village, and Washington Square Park.

What

Between 1643 and 1716, people of African descent were allowed to settle north of the Dutch colonial city limits of New Amsterdam. The Dutch government implemented a policy of ‘half-freedom’ after enslaved men petitioned the administration for freedom after having served the colony for nearly twenty years.

This policy meant that enslaved people were able to own and operate their own farms but they would be responsible for an annual grain contribution to the colony and their children would remain enslaved by the trading company.

Impact

By 1664, there were over thirty African-owned farms in what is today Chinatown, Little Italy, and the West Village. These farms were wiped from the landscape by the British conquest of New Amsterdam and subsequent development.

By 1712, the remaining farms were gone when African ownership was effectively ended by legal codes created after the Slave Revolt of 1712.

Provocations

Questions to Consider

Homes in communities of color continue to be subject to state, local, and federal efforts to use eminent domain, often without fair compensatory measures.

Furthermore, as we look to increased infrastructure spending in the upcoming years, we must acknowledge the prevalence of government policies to place infrastructure in communities of color because land values are lower and their voices are often less represented in government.

What kind of support do these communities need?

Share Your Story

Help us gather more stories from this community and beyond. if you have a story or suggestion about this location, please leave a comment below.

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