- Leslie Alexander
Seneca Village (1825–1857) was a predominately black neighborhood in upper Manhattan that served as a home to a thriving community until it was destroyed to create Central Park. Seneca Village comprised numerous homes, churches, and schools, and was a beacon of hope for the champions of black freedom in the antebellum era, symbolizing their right to remain in the United States and obtain the rights and equality they so fervently sought. However, as the United States spiraled toward Civil War, New York politicians became determined to eliminate Seneca Village and the potential it represented, and unleashed a campaign to eradicate the community and replace it with Central Park.
The tale of Seneca Village began rather modestly with a few small plots of land and a group of determined black leaders Prior to the Civil War most New York City residents lived below 42nd Street in the expanding yet ...