Slavery in New York is one of the books I used to get background information for my collaborative essay, and I thought it was great so I thought I’d share it. The book was published in conjunction with The New York Historical Society for their exhibit that also has an online component, Slavery in New York. The website allows you to go through a digital exhibit on slavery which is very well-done. I found the layout interesting, as you have to click through explanatory text as well as pictures to move forward in the exhibit. This forces you to read more than you normally would. Click on “tour the galleries” to get to the exhibits. (On a side note: I’m glad I didn’t choose slavery in Greenwich Village as the topic for my exhibit, because, well, I’m obviously outdone before I begin!)
The book is a scholarly work that is divided chronologically, and by subject. With glossy inserts of drawings, maps, and pictures, and shaded gray pages with illuminating snippets, the book resembles a textbook, and serves its function as one. It is a very comprehensive look at the institution of slavery. The chapters that particularly interested me were the three chapters with the heading “Black Life in Freedom” which discuss politics, popular culture, and elite culture. The ramifications of emancipation are really fascinating in their effect on New York City, and the book is full of information that I never considered before. I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, I have the only NYU copy and someone’s placed a hold on it so I have to return it next week! I’m thinking about purchasing it.