“In this vacuum-sealed artificial paradise, utopia turns to dystopia, the American Dream to consumerist nightmare. It is not a new story, but Ms. Rohrer gives it a cool, acerbic bite.” - Ken Johnson on the work of Jessica Rohrer
A video of a New York teen asking his community to get off the streets and get an education has gone viral since it was posted Thursday morning.
Violence rocked the town of Rochester on Wednesday, when a drive-by shooting left four people injured and three others dead. It was the final straw for 18-year-old Semaj Rock, who took to Facebook to share the pain and frustration he feels.
“Part detective tale, part social and cultural narrative, Black Gotham is Carla Peterson’s riveting account of her quest to reconstruct the lives of her nineteenth-century ancestors. As she shares their stories and those of their friends, neighbors, and business associates, she illuminates the greater history of African-American elites in New York City.
Black Gotham challenges many of the accepted “truths” about African-American history, including the assumption that the phrase “nineteenth-century black Americans” means enslaved people, that “New York state before the Civil War” refers to a place of freedom, and that a black elite did not exist until the twentieth century. Beginning her story in the 1820s, Peterson focuses on the pupils of the Mulberry Street School, the graduates of which went on to become eminent African-American leaders. She traces their political activities as well as their many achievements in trade, business, and the professions against the backdrop of the expansion of scientific racism, the trauma of the Civil War draft riots, and the rise of Jim Crow.
Told in a vivid, fast-paced style, Black Gotham is an important account of the rarely acknowledged achievements of nineteenth-century African Americans and brings to the forefront a vital yet forgotten part of American history and culture.”