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Self-Taught New York Historian Celedonia Jones Passes Away at 93

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Former Manhattan Borough Historian and Seneca Village historian, Dr. Michael Henry Adams, has dedicated his career to uncovering the stories of marginalized communities in New York City. From 1997 to 2005, he served as the Manhattan borough historian, where he delved into the city’s rich history. In particular, Adams focused on shedding light on the history of Seneca Village, a predominantly Black settlement that resided in what is now Central Park.

Seneca Village, established in the 1820s, was a vibrant community of working-class African Americans. Despite facing discrimination and segregation, residents of Seneca Village built a thriving community, complete with churches, schools, and businesses. However, their homes and livelihoods were abruptly disrupted when the city used eminent domain to seize the land in the 1850s to create Central Park. The residents were forced to relocate, and their history was largely erased from public memory.

Adams’ work has been instrumental in preserving the legacy of Seneca Village and ensuring that its residents are not forgotten. Through meticulous research and advocacy, he has brought attention to the vital contributions of this overlooked community to New York City’s history.

In addition to his role as Manhattan borough historian and his focus on Seneca Village, Adams has also been an outspoken advocate for preserving the historic character of Harlem and other neighborhoods in the city. He has fought against gentrification and urban development projects that threaten to erase the cultural heritage of these communities.

Adams’ dedication to preserving the history of marginalized communities has earned him recognition and respect from historians and community members alike. His work serves as a reminder of the importance of remembering and honoring the contributions of all communities to the fabric of New York City. As he continues his research and advocacy, Adams remains committed to ensuring that the stories of Seneca Village and other marginalized communities are not lost to history.

For more information on Dr. Adams and his work, visit his website or contact him directly.

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Photo credit www.nytimes.com

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