Seneca Village: The Making and Un-making of a Distinctive 19th-Century Place on the Periphery of New York City

Summary

In the late 1820s and in the shadow of emancipation in New York State, several African Americans purchased land in what is now Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Pushed by racial oppression and unsanitary conditions downtown and pulled by the prospects of a healthier, freer life and property ownership, they were joined by other members of the African diaspora and built an important Black middle-class community, likely active in the abolitionist movement. The city removed the villagers from their land in 1857 by right of eminent domain to construct Central Park. This paper presents the results of recent excavations revealing some of the ways residents created this unique community, through traditional practices of landscape manipulation and social activities. We will also discuss residents’ efforts to resist removal, the city’s dispersal of the villagers, and our difficulty locating former residents after they were removed from this special place.

Cite this Record

Seneca Village: The Making and Un-making of a Distinctive 19th-Century Place on the Periphery of New York City. Meredith B. Linn, Nan A. Rothschild, Diana Wall. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441656)

Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 433