I’m back (for now at least)!

So I have committed the unpardonable sin that every blogger is told NEVER to do. Let my blog and archive go and simply ignore them for over a year! To be honest letter writing has never been my forte and so I shouldn’t expect blogging to be either. And since I was reared and disciplined in a culture of the book, the idea of a . . . Read More

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Launched!

A banner day! Today is the day I’m launching the Black Gotham Digital Archive! If you’re reading this, you can access it directly from the “The Archive” link on the left.

You’ll find pretty much everything I promised in my last blog. The main component of the digital archive consists of “Black Gotham Stories.” Currently, they’re made up of five exhibits: an introduction . . . Read More

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Taking Stock

This will be one of my last blog entries prior to the launch of the Black Gotham Digital Archive so it seems like an appropriate moment for me to step back and take stock of all things Black Gotham.

Looking back. By my count, since the publication of Black Gotham in February 2011 I’ve given some forty-five book talks with three more scheduled for this . . . Read More

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The Black Gotham Digital Archive: The Draft Riots of July 1863

I found this note in the Harry A. Williamson Papers at the Schomburg Center while doing research for Black Gotham.  It’s a central document in my “cluster” on the New York City draft riots and uncovers a fascinating story.  The first part of the story relates to Williamson’s identity.  He turns out to be the grandson of Albro Lyons, the man to whom the . . . Read More

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Upcoming Speaking Event at UM Libraries’ Campus Author Series

As director of the Black Gotham Archive, this Wednesday, March 7th at 4:30pm I will be giving a talk as part of the University of Maryland Libraries’ Speaking of Books… Conversations with Campus Authors series. I will be speaking on my recently published book, Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City. (Yale UP, 2011).

During the 2011-12 . . . Read More

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Part 2: This Week I Answer Reader Questions on Times’ “Taking Questions”

Last week I was featured by The New York Times City Room “Taking Questions” series on my book, Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City (Yale University Press, 2011). Over the course of the week, readers submitted their questions to me about nineteenth-century black New York. I have taken the time to respond to questions. One of my responses . . . Read More

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This Week I Answer Reader Questions on Times’ “Taking Questions”

This week I am honored to be featured by The New York Times City Room “Taking Questions” series on my book, Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City (Yale University Press, 2011). Black Gotham is an account of my quest to reconstruct the lives of my nineteenth-century ancestors. By sharing their stories and those of their friends, neighbors, and . . . Read More

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Storytelling

I ended my last blog entry with the suggestion that one possible virtue of virtuality might be that a digital archive inverts the book’s relationship between word and image (in the case of Black Gotham, portraits of people as well as depictions of places—maps, streets, buildings, etc.).  “In my book,” I wrote, “word was the primary vehicle for telling my story and image functioned . . . Read More

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Beginnings

It might seem strange to be talking about “beginnings” just as the semester is winding down, but that’s exactly where I’m at: taking my very first step toward setting up the Black Gotham Digital Archive.

I had my first training session with Seth Denbo and Amanda Visconti last week, with Kirsten Keister joining us at the end. MITH is using Omeka as the platform . . . Read More

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What’s the Virtue of Virtuality?

As is generally the case with things intellectual, progress on my digital archive has been quite slow.

I have several “handlers” (as I call them) at MITH and they are all terrific. Kirsten Keister is responsible for the design of this website which I think is truly elegant—and she did it in record time. Emma Millon is going to teach me how to post my . . . Read More

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