Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Baked by a Negro Cookies at the Lincoln Park Music Fest in Newark!

Where delicious cookies and great music collide!
*An Afternoon of Jazz Hosted by Amiri Baraka* 
12:00 - 3:00 pm

*The Newark Idol Competition & Tribute to Motown* 
3:00 - 6:00 pm

*An Evening of Gospel* 
6:00 - 9:00 pm

Click on the link to be taken to the Lincoln Park Music Festival web site!

Friday, July 12, 2013

150 Years Ago...the Burning of the Colored Orphans Asylum

Racist fears of these/
“Colored Orphans” and others/
Caused New York to burn.

Unknown child, ca. 1860s
This weekend marks the sesquicentennial of the worst civil disturbance in the history of our country--the New York City Draft riots. On July 13, 1863, the Colored Orphans Asylum burned to the ground as white rioters beat and lynched African Americans with impunity until the violence was quelled by the police and federal troops 3 days later. Below are some links to further information about this tragic event. It is extremely fitting, in my opinion, to visit this time in history as we contemplate the continuing vulnerability of black youth in a society that continues to demonize them. Some of you know that I am working on a web-based project--a fictional memoir of one of the child survivors of the draft riots. Here is the link to The Darkinboddy Chronicles.

Colored Orphans Asylum, Boy's Playground, 1861.
From July 13-17, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, the worst race riot in American history took place in New York City. Among other buildings, the Colored Orphans Asylum (pictured above) was burned to the ground. According to most histories from the era, all the children (over 200) were led to safety. However, there is one police report of one child who was left behind and murdered by the mob. It is the life of this little girl, whose name is lost to history, that I am attempting to reconstruct and re-imagine in my web project.

There are several accounts of the riot, its causes, and the immediate aftermath--I recommend In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863, by Leslie M. Harris, for its overview of the riot. I have provided a link to the book here, but there is a wealth of additional information available. The Virtual New York site, produced by CUNY, has a comprehensive discussion of the riot here. The New-York Historical Society offered an amazing look at Northern slavery with its recent (a couple of years ago) Slavery in New York exhibit, which is permanently online here

Also available on line is a report, formally titled Report of the Merchants Committee for the Relief of Colored People Suffering from the Late Riots in the City of New York, generated by a relief society formed to aid the African American community in the immediate aftermath of the riot--here. The Historical Society of Plainfield has an original copy of this document in its archives.

All best,