The History Forum showcases the best new work on New York City
history and builds bridges between the city's past and present. Presentations
by, and conversations with, historians and history makers are moderated by Suzanne Wasserman, Director of the Gotham Center.
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New York's Colored Orphan Asylum: A History
Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 6:30-8
Martin E. Segal Theater
William Seraile discusses the history of the Colored Orphan Asylum, founded in 1836 as the nation's first orphanage for African-American children. The agency weathered three wars, two major financial panics, a devastating fire during the 1863 Draft Riots, several epidemics, waves of racial prejudice, and severe financial difficulties to care for 15,000 orphaned, neglected, and delinquent children. Weaving together African-American history with a unique history of New York, this painstaking work spotlights an unsung institution and casts light onto its complex racial dynamics.