"You Are Here" is a literary work that delves into the historical locations in Manhattan where enslaved and free Africans made their mark on the city. The book brings to the forefront their significant contributions and identifies the specific areas where they resided, toiled, transitioned, and practiced their faith. Moreover, it serves as a comprehensive geographic handbook that traces the African journey in Manhattan from 1613 to 1865.
Despite being only 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles at its widest point, Manhattan's influence reaches far beyond its boundaries and has a significant worldwide impact. As the Island at "The Center of The World," New York City is undeniably one of the most important cities in America. My objective is to revive the legacy of African Americans by presenting a chronological account of their history through a combination of photographs, illustrations, narratives, and detailed maps. Each chapter guides you through the paths taken by remarkable men and women who lived, worked, worshiped, and died while constructing Manhattan. While many of these places have undergone significant transformations, with the aid of "You Are Here," factual accounts, and your imagination, you will witness the city beyond its modern facade with new eyes and an enlightened perspective.
Apart from the Native Americans, enslaved and free Africans initially inhabited every locality in Manhattan, including TriBeCa, SOHO, Little Italy, China Town, Lower/Mid/Upper Manhattan, the Garment District, Turtle Bay, Hell’s Kitchen, Times Square, Murray Hill, Chelsea, Gramercy Park, the Meat Packing District, the Bowery, the Tenderloin District, and the Financial and Civil centers, among others.
Over the years, African Americans were compelled to relocate to new areas within the city due to various factors, only to witness the ruthless cycle of gentrification repeating itself once again.
Similar to present-day Manhattan, this book owes its existence to remarkable Africans who did not have a say in coming to this land but, once here, displayed exceptional bravery, culture, and ingenuity. Therefore, as you traverse through the city's streets, my sincere hope is that we acknowledge the invaluable contributions made by these Africans and acknowledge their rightful place in global history.
Upon finishing this book, you will stroll across the streets of Manhattan with a sense of pride and dignity. You will acknowledge that the enslaved and free Africans who constructed this city and sacrificed all they had for us did not do so without purpose. May the essence of our forefathers continue to reside within us - Ase.
Available as an E-book on Amazon.
Note: I'm currently updating the book - It should be completed by
the end of the year (2023).