About New York City Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour – Inside Out Tours
Shards of New York City's history are hidden in plain sight practically everywhere you turn in this sprawling metropolis, but few visitors ever have the chance to unearth them. Inside Out Tours takes you on just such an eye-opening discovery during the NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour, which incorporates a slew of Manhattan landmarks seen along the way into a stirring tale of freedoms fought and won more than 200 years ago.
Both famous and lesser-known sights take center stage during this enlightening voyage through New York City's slaveholding past. The site of a graceful sculpture turns out to be the very spot where slaves were hanged and burned at the stake after a tragic conspiracy unfolded in 1741, while a historic tavern is revealed to be at the center of a decades-long debate over the true racial identity of its slave-owning former proprietor.
You'll also visit a Colonial burial ground that became a national monument in 2006. It features a 24-foot-high memorial that pays tribute to the 419 Africans and African descendants interred here, along with an adjacent visitor center with interactive exhibitions detailing the history of slavery in New York and the fascinating story behind the cemetery itself.
This Inside Out tour concludes in front of an unassuming coffee shop that was once the home of David Ruggles, a conductor on the famed Underground Railroad who helped hundreds escape from slavery. It was here that a runaway slave named Frederick Douglass sought refuge, long before becoming one of the most famous abolitionists in U.S. history.
Inside Out Tours co-founders Stacey Toussaint and Sheila Collins are native New Yorkers whose families have lived in Brooklyn for three generations. The excursions are often led by Toussaint, who boasts an impressive knowledge of New York City history and an obvious passion for her subject matter. Questions are encouraged throughout the tour, which may lead to thought-provoking discussions and collective reflections on the legacy of slavery in New York City. A lot of ground, both physical and factual, is covered during the span of this fast-paced, engaging exploration that winds through lower Manhattan while delving into New York City's slaveholding past.
Approximately two hours
The NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour is a fantastic pick for both locals and tourists, since it reveals a side of New York City that often remains hidden from visitors and residents alike. Its focus on New York City during its slaveholding days will appeal to history buffs, particularly those interested in African-American heritage and the Colonial era.
Good for kids?
The fast pace of the tour and its focus on historical facts not often found in standard schoolbooks makes for a great out-of-the-box educational experience for older children and teens.
New York City Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour Location Information:
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004
The NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour
Begins: Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004
Ends: 36 Lispenard Street, New York, NY 10013.
4, 5 to Bowling Green; 1 to South Ferry; R to Whitehall St.; J, Z to Broad St.; 2, 3 to Wall St.