Founded in 2000, the Gotham Center is a public educational organization devoted to the history of New York at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Below are articles I’ve contributed to the Center’s Blog based on research I’ve done for my novels. A tap on the headline or graphic will bring you to the full article on the Gotham Blog. If you’re interested in having me discuss any of these articles or the research that went into them, I’m available for classroom visits or online chats. Just tap here, or go to my Contact page.
In New York City, you’re always digging up someone or something that wasn’t supposed to be there. It comes with the territory. Build a Federal Court complex at Foley Square and discover the African Burial Ground. Start digging for a parking garage at the National 9/11 Memorial site and find an 18th century Hudson River sloop double-parked.
If you were a patrician New Yorker during the late eighteenth or the nineteenth centuries, the two most important secular holidays were the Fourth of July and Evacuation Day. For those unaware, November 25, 1783, marked the final withdrawal of British troops from Manhattan after the Revolution. makes it interesting? Write a catchy description to grab your audience's attention...
Shortly before noon on Friday, February 21, 1862, a detachment of Marines with bayonets fixed for battle marched passed the wooden gallows and took up their positions. How could it have ever come to this point for “Lucky Nat?”
In the early decades of the 19th century, no group was more denigrated or rendered more powerless than African American women. In 1834, Henrietta R. Ray, Abigail Mathews, Sarah Elston and several others decided to do something about it.
While standing at the corner of Sixth Avenue and 33rd Street on June 4, 1890, Timothy Thomas Fortune thought the hot night called for cold beer. So he strode into Trainor’s Hotel, sat down at the bar and ordered.
“We don’t serve colored people here,” the bartender said.
Thomas L. Jennings was the first African American granted a patent by the United States, but he was also a shrewd businessman, an ardent abolitionist and a civil rights leader.
In today’s world, the basic right to equal public transportation is a given, but that wasn’t always the case. One hundred and sixty years ago, one of the most important civil rights battles took place on the streets of New York -– and hardly anyone remembers it.