Manage episode 377622520 series 2645682
By 1840 there were nearly 190 African Americans out of more than 4,000 residents in the town of Westchester, located in what is today part of the East Bronx. In 1849, several Black men formed the first Black church in the Bronx, known as the Bethel A.M.E. Church, and the only African burial ground in the borough. The Black community surrounding the church was made up of mostly laborers, farmers, skilled craftspeople and service professionals. Not only did the community of Westchester offer African Americans a bit more safety than Manhattan, but it also offered abolitionists more secluded areas to organize. Once such abolitionist is David Ruggles, one of the most prominent anti-slavery activists and abolitionists of the 19th century. Ruggles also had a presence in Westchester. He was associates with one of its residents named Uriah Copeland who was a founding trustee of theBethel A.M.E. church. Guests in this episode include Author, historian and Professor, Dr. Prathibha Kanakamedala as well as librarian and archivist at The Bronx County Historical Society, Dr. Steven Payne.