East Village Building Blocks

Guided Tour : African American History

African Americans have lived in the East Village since the mid-17th c.  Freed blacks in New Netherland were given farmland here and nearby, in what was the first free black settlement in North America.  In the 19th c. it was the site of historic speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass at Cooper Union, the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church to which Elizabeth Jennings Graham, the ‘Rosa Parks’ of her day, was traveling by streetcar, and the Draft Riots on First Avenue.  In the 20th c., it was a hotbed of jazz and blues, home to Charlie Parker, Lead Belly, Randy Weston and Leroi Jones, and later of considerable activism, with the New York chapter of the Black Panthers founded, having offices, and holding fundraisers here.  In the late 20th c., artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ellen Stewart, and Spike Lee launched their careers here.

Cooper Union

Block 544, Lot 1

000, Abby Hopper Gibbons, Abraham Lincoln, ACT UP, African American History, Alice Paul, American Woman Suffrage Association, Anglo-Italianate, Anne Cobden Sanderson, Chinese Equal Rights League, Civil War, Clara Lemlich, Cooper Union, Cooper Union ADdress, Craig Rodwell, Crystal Eastman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Emma Goldman, Emmeline Pankhurst, Equality League of Self-Supporting Women, Fong Yue-Ting v. United States, Frederick A. Peterson, Frederick Douglass, Greary Act, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Individual Landmark, Institutional, International Ladies Garment Workers Union, John Brown, Kay Tobin, labor rights, Lee Sam Ping, LGBTQ, Max Eastman, mosaics, National Register of Historic Places, National Rights Convention, Paul R. Dince, Peter Cooper, Randy Wicker, Rose Schneiderman, Susan B. Anthony, Uprising of 20, Wage Earner’s Suffrage League, Woo Chin Foo

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