Black Gotham

By Carla L. Peterson,

Book cover of Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City

Book description

A groundbreaking history of elite black New Yorkers in the nineteenth century, seen through the lens of the author's ancestors

Part detective tale, part social and cultural narrative, Black Gotham is Carla Peterson's riveting account of her quest to reconstruct the lives of her nineteenth-century ancestors. As she shares their…


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Why read it?

1 author picked Black Gotham as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Part history, part memoir, part detective story, the capacious, impeccably researched Black Gotham depicts an author’s engagement with her own ancestry, as she traces her family’s achievements in nineteenth-century New York City. Starting with the name and a family story about one great-grandfather, Peterson weaves a vibrant tapestry that details the lives of a community of elite Black New Yorkers who attended schools, started businesses, generated national conventions, and lived cosmopolitan lives. In addition to chronicling the lives of these accomplished ancestors, Peterson offers a compelling meditation on the determination and creativity required to excavate the lives of Black…

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