Brooklyn Abolitionists


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships




Brooklyn has a distinct story to tell in the history of social justice. From the end of the American Revolution to the start of the Civil War, Brooklyn expanded from one of six former colonial towns in Kings County to the third largest city in the nation. As it did so, Brooklyn’s small but growing free Black community – ordinary people from all walks of life including educators, laborers, homeowners, writers, church leaders, journalists, and businesswomen – sought to shape their streets and neighborhoods in a radical anti-slavery vision. They agitated for social justice in areas such as housing, employment, voting, and education and pursued a radical vision of democracy in the United States. Part mapping project, part historical storytelling, “Brooklyn Abolitionists” tells the rich nineteenth century history of New York City’s second largest borough and the people that were at the center of its urban development.