How America’s ‘first black middle class village’ was destroyed to make way for Central Park

By | March 14, 2017

Andrew Williams owned three blocks of land with a home valued at $4,000 ($113,000 in today’s money) between 85th and 86th streets Seventh and Eighth Avenues.

An African American man, he lived in what would be the Upper West Side of Manhattan for more than 30 years but now – in 1855 – he was being forced to move.

The Government had enacted eminent domain to take his land and after supposedly offering him $3,500 ($99,000), Williams was now being forced to take $2,335 ($66,600) and leave immediately.

Williams, along with close to 300 people were forced off their property by New York so that the city could embark on one of its most recognizable attractions – the creation of Central Park.
Seneca Village, New York, was an interracial community of property owning African Americans and Irish and German immigrants that spanned from 82nd to 87th Streets along what is now known as the western edge of Central Park and a few blocks above the American Natural History Museum. (Daily Mail)

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