Slavery was introduced to Manhattan (then New Amsterdam) in 1626 and, for two centuries, remained a significant part of New York life. In fact, the New York City Common Council declared Wall Street the city’s first official slave market on December 13, 1711, deeming it a space where human beings could be enslaved for the day or for the week. The slave market took the shape of a wooden structure with open sides, and held approximately 50 people at a time. It operated as such, on the corner of Wall Street and Pearl Street in the heart of the Financial District, until 1762. Slavery was legally abolished in New York in 1827.
Wall Street’s odious history has since been covered up, while New York’s reputation as a space of diversity and inclusion continues to blossom. But what remains of this 200-year period of discrimination, oppression and hate?
Through her photography, artist Nona Faustine investigates such convoluted spaces, with pasts and presents that don’t quite line up. Faustine’s Nude Self-Portraits Explore Former Sites Of Slavery Throughout New York.