Crisis Decade (1850 – 1860)

1850 marked the beginning of the crisis decade. Territorial gains made from the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) reignited arguments over whether slavery should be allowed to expand in the United States. The Fugitive Slave Law was part of Congress’ attempt to balance the nation’s free and slave state interests. Instead, the line between free and slave blurred entirely and thousands of free black people in Brooklyn and beyond were at the whim of…

Timeline

…hards turned his sights to Brooklyn. The result was the Atlantic Docks which transformed Red Hook’s marshland into an industrial wall around Brooklyn. Its success catalyzed further development. The prosperity of Brooklyn’s newly industrialized waterfront was tied to the economies of slavery. From Williamsburg to Red Hook, the city’s warehouses stored sugar, cotton, and tobacco – all valuable commodities produced by unfree labor. 1850 The Fugitive

Abolitionist Biographies

…of the flag at Fort Sumter based on his national reputation. His later life was overshadowed by the Beecher-Tilton scandal in which he was accused of infidelity. COUSINS, Robert H Robert H. Cousins Anti-Slavery Activist, homeowner, businessman, downtown Brooklyn resident. Robert Cousins was born in Virginia around 1800 and moved to Brooklyn in 1840. There, he joined the AME Church and the Brooklyn African Tompkins Society, a mutual aid organizat…

Games

…s. James Hamlet Williamsburg resident, James Hamlet, was kidnapped and accused of being a fugitive who ran away from his enslaver Mary Brown in Baltimore. Manhattan and Brooklyn abolitionists rallied together to raise the $800 needed for Hamlet’s release. The Freedman’s Bureau After the Civil War, Congress established the Freedman’s Bureau.The Brooklyn Branch, which opened in 1866, assists, educates, and aids free people living in Brooklyn. Peter…

A Gradual Emancipation (1783 – 1827)

…tlers: the rest are a casual collection from all quarters. Timothy Dwight, Travels in New England and New York, 1822. The Village of Brooklyn in 1816. Jeremiah Lott. 1816. B P-1816 (1816–?).Fl. Brooklyn Historical Society. Teacher’s Manual Section 1: Lesson 6 In 1816, the village of Brooklyn was incorporated within the town of the same name. Brooklyn had transformed from farmland to a bustling town centered around the ferry landing at the n…

Walking Tours

…It was the heart of the burgeoning city. Brooklyn’s anti-slavery pioneers — free African Americans — lived here from 1810 onwards. They built institutions to combat racism on behalf of all people of color, especially when the end of slavery in New York State in 1827 came without equality. ↗ Open map in new window BROOKLYN HEIGHTS In the 19th century, Brooklyn urbanized rapidly. What began as the small village of Brooklyn, centered around the Fult…

Abolitionist Brooklyn (1828 – 1849)

…827.Fl. Brooklyn Historical Society. The map shown here represents the village of Brooklyn contained within the town of the same name in 1827 – the same year that slavery ended in New York State. By this time, Brooklyn transformed from Dutch farmland to a bustling town while Kings County’s other five towns remained largely rural. The town contained ropewalks, taverns, stores, one-story homes, and unpaved streets. Its residents settled around the…

Civil War & Beyond (1861 – 1867)

…ry to end slavery and be recognized as equal citizens of the United States. Lieutenant Peter Vogelsang. Copy photograph of a carte de visite, originally taken by unknown photographer, circa 1863-1865. From the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment Photographs. Photograph number 72.64. Massachusetts Historical Society. Peter Vogelsang was among the thousands of ordinary black men who demonstrated their courage and patriotism while being s…