Course Description

Lyndell O’Hara PH.D., historian

In the nineteenth century, the Five Points neighborhood of lower Manhattan was one of the most famous places in the world, and not in positive light! Here African-American domestic immigrants lived side by side with waves of Irish, Jewish, Italian and Chinese immigrants, all seeking to find their place in a city of opportunity. The corruption of Tammany politics and Christian missions each sought the loyalty of the inhabitants. Squalor and destitution prevailed in a neighborhood that supported dance halls, theater, and opera houses as well as boxing rings and numerous taverns. The racial, ethnic and religious tensions often exploded into riots, giving voice to issues the majority of New Yorkers refused to recognize. In the midst of it all, a political, artistic and social creativity emerged which would become part of what it meant to be “American.” 3 SESSIONS

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