This Walking Tour Examines the Racial Strife of the 1863 Draft Riots

10/18/2022 in
This Walking Tour Examines the Racial Strife of the 1863 Draft Riots

In 1863, the U.S. Army was in need of manpower to fight the Civil War. So a new law was passed, expanding eligibility for the military draft. In New York City and elsewhere, members of the working class responded with riots.

The five days of the New York Draft Riots were some of the bloodiest in the country’s history. Hundreds were killed, and Black New Yorkers were often directly targeted by the violence. The grim period in the city’s racial history is captured in the Black Gotham Experience’s compelling walking tour called “Fighting Dark” which invites participants to engage directly with the legacy of NYC’s racial violence. 

“Fighting Dark” aims to show how Black people found resilience in the face of oppression, and how the Civil War draft was merely an alibi that obscured the roots of brutality directed at Black New Yorkers. 

The free walking audio tour includes sites in Lower Manhattan, from hearing about the role the police played in the riots while standing in front of David Dinkins Manhattan Municipal Building, to learning about prosecutions of rioters while standing near Boss Tweed’s courthouse, to visiting the statue of Horace Greeley at City Hall Park to learn about the publisher and abolitionist and the role newspapers played in the coverage of the riots. 

See the full map of the free tour here, and find more information and links to the audio programs here

photo: Black Gotham Experience

Tags: black gotham experience, walking tour

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