Pathways to the Past: The Enslaved African Legacy

Tour Locations

For approximately 200 years, the Van Cortlandt family plantation relied upon the labor of enslaved people, as did many plantations and farms in the north. Enslaved Africans, their descendants, and Indigenous people were vital to colonial New York’s economy–growing, harvesting, milling, packing, and shipping the wheat that would be a staple export out of New York harbor.

In addition to being the home of the wealthy and influential Van Cortlandt family, the land now known as Van Cortlandt Park was home to generations of enslaved people, both African and Native American, going back to the 1600s. The work of enslaved people in the Bronx–building roads, constructing houses, damming streams–is still visible in the landscape of the park. Favorite sites in Van Cortlandt Park, like the lake and Van Cortlandt House Museum, are daily reminders of their labor and lasting legacy.

The Pathways to the Past: Enslaved Africans Legacy tour will enlighten participants on the true history that shaped Van Cortlandt Park.  Click on each of the locations above for more information.

Special Thanks To:

Historical Research and Video & Webpages Text: 
Nick Dembowski

Contributing Editors:
Laura Carpenter Myers
Stephanie Ehrlich
Jacki Fischer
Christina Taylor

Narration for Videos:
Olga Luz Tirado

The Enslaved People Project is a joint effort of Van Cortlandt Park Alliance, Van Cortlandt House Museum, and Kingsbridge Historical Society in partnership with NYC Parks. With heartfelt appreciation and deep respect to the Enslaved People Project Task Force Steering Committee for their guidance and support.

Pathways to the Past: Enslaved African Legacy digital tour is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council.

See the original post