As the last enslaved people living in New York State were officially freed on July 4th, 1827, celebrations reigned.
According to the New-York Spectator, people packed the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church on the corner of Church and Leonard Streets in Manhattan. The major societies for the support and liberation of African American people were there. Banners and flags festooned the church. “Several hymns written for the occasion were sung.”
Portraits of John Jay, a founder of the Manumission Society who had himself owned five people until 1800, and Matthew Clarkson, who introduced a bill for the gradual end of slavery to the New York State Legislature, were hung near a bust of Daniel D. Tompkins, who as Governor of New York had proposed this date as the day for emancipation. [Read more…] about July 4th, 1827: Freedom Day