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Greenwich Village as Harlem’s Preamble and Echo: A Random Illustrated Survey: The Village Trip Lecture by Eric K Washington
September 11, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDTFree
[J.A. Arneaux | 1885 advert for The Astor Place Tragedy Co. production of Othello! ]
A close look at Greenwich Village reveals an often surprising pentimento of centuries-old African American history. Many unfamiliar and long forgotten place names reemerge like “Land of the Blacks” and “Little Africa.” We detect early footprints of such social institutions as the Freedman’s Bank, or of congregations, long since relocated, of Mother A.M.E. Zion, Abyssinian Baptist and the Roman Catholic St. Benedict the Moor churches.
We can fairly imagine the excitement of bygone Black theatrical ventures such as the African Grove Theatre or the Astor Place Tragedy Company. We fall in with the throng of some 3,000 Black citizens celebrating the State Assembly’s 1873 civil rights bill. Or we’re swayed by the earnest shepherding of such educators as Sarah J.S. Tompkins, or orator Henry Highland Garnet, or held in thrall by the musical spells of Mrs. Daisy Tapley with her Wanamaker’s Colored Chorus.
Eric’s illustrated lecture, culled from some of his various projects, offers a randomly select view of the Village and its environs as a vibrant center of Black social life before it shifted miles farther uptown.