Curious about the origins of New York State? Eager to explore the history of the area once known as New Netherland, and to “meet” all its inhabitants? After a highly successful series of pilot editions this spring, Black Heritage Tours returns to New York State from August 5 until August 7 for their official launch.
The influence of the Dutch, Native American and African cultures throughout New York State are still evident today. They are clearly seen in the architectural heritage, food, cities and street names; and, in many of the present-day celebrations.
Founded in Amsterdam in 2013, Black Heritage Tours – New York State focuses on the transnational history of the region, and demonstrates the influence that the Dutch, Native American and African cultures had on New York. While we often think of New York as a “free state,” slavery wasn’t abolished in New York until 1827, and its blows were felt long after that.
This three-day, two-night tour of New York’s Hudson Valley, which includes hotel accommodations and transportation, will provide a glimpse into our past, answering questions about the history of slavery in New York, and bringing to light the extraordinary experiences of the men and women who helped shape this region. The tour begins in Albany, with stops at Crailo Historic Site, Ten Broeck Mansion, the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and the African Burial Grounds. Tours will proceed along the Hudson River to New York City, with additional stops in Harlem and Brooklyn.
Jennifer Tosch, Founder and CEO of Black Heritage Tours, founded the company to help interpret the history of the enslaved in the Netherlands. The New York State tours are an extension of that early research, and continue Tosch’s mission to add these hidden histories to the canon. In many ways, the mission is personal for Tosch. Born in Brooklyn to Surinamese parents, Tosch came of age in the midst of the Civil Rights movement. The Toschs immigrated to America right before Tosch was born expecting to enjoy the American dream, but those expectations were tested again and again during the country’s ensuing struggle for equal rights.
As an adult, Jennifer attended University of California, Berkeley where she studied Dutch Colonial history. She traveled abroad to trace her family’s own diaspora, and during her studies in the Netherlands, she was surprised to discover large voids in the historical narrative. ‘Where were the positive narratives about the presence of Africans?’ ‘Where were their contributions celebrated?’ Similar to her childhood, Tosch recognized gaps between her experiences and the story being told by the predominant culture. She founded Black Heritage Tours to combat that “single story” approach to history and reclaim her heritage.
“My vision is that through this tour and the tireless work being done by dedicated scholars and activists throughout the Netherlands we will move from silence, shame and blame to when we will speak about ‘Black history’ with pride, and to claim the heritage that is rightfully shared,” Tosch says.
Below, you find founder Jennifer’s TEDx Talk “Creating a future by exploring our shared past.”
- August 5 -7: Starting Albany, ending in New York City.
For tickets, click here.
About Black Heritage Tours
Black Heritage Tours, founded in 2013 by Jennifer Tosch in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, was developed to create authentic cultural heritage experiences that goes beyond what most tour products offer today. Co-created with the Mapping Slavery Project in the Netherlands and I Love New York, the tour journey continues in New York State. The tour connects not only the ‘transnational history’ between the Netherlands and New York State (formerly the Dutch colony, New Netherland), but specifically the Native American, African and Dutch heritage from the 17th Century forward. While visiting historic sites, museums, monuments and local attractions, Black Heritage Tours invites you to explore and discover the ‘hidden history’ of the origins of New York State and its inhabitants.
About the Mapping Slavery Project
Mapping Slavery gives a broader audience access to traces of the Dutch slavery heritage. The project lends the slavery heritage more immediacy through the description of places in the direct environment of contemporary Dutch citizens. By collating data pertaining to the slavery heritage and translating it to digital maps and walking tours, the Dutch slavery history is literally brought closer to home. The Dutch project is – among others – inspired by the British research project ‘The Legacy of British Slave-Ownership’ by the University College London. In 2015 an exploratory project on the Dutch slavery heritage in New York (New Holland and New Amsterdam) was done. Projects in Suriname and Indonesia are being prepared.