Many of New York City’s parks and monuments honor African Americans who have shaped the landscape of our culture. Monuments and green spaces of all sizes, from Marcus Garvey Park in Manhattan to Hattie Carthan Community Garden in Brooklyn, pay tribute to the contributions and lives of notable African Americans from the 18th century to the 21st.
NYC Parks’ Ebony Society and Art & Antiquities has announced a new exhibit “Namesakes: Honoring African Americans in NYC Parks” is on display until February 27th, 2020, and features photographs that highlights a sampling of such namesakes throughout the city.
Historical images from the NYC Parks Photo Archive are displayed alongside contemporary photographs that show the vibrancy of these parks today. Accompanying texts share biographical details about the namesake individuals as well as information about the parks’ histories.
The NYC Parks Ebony Society was founded in 1985 with the purpose of unifying NYC Parks’ African American community, increasing African American visibility, and recognizing those who make outstanding contributions not only to NYC Parks, but also their communities. Soon thereafter, the Ebony Society was chartered as a non-profit. The Society derives its name from the Ebony tree, indigenous to Africa and known for its strength. Since 1985, it has become an integral part of the NYC Parks community and has helped organize the annual exhibition honoring Black History Month in the Arsenal Gallery since 1991.
This exhibit is on view at the NYC Parks’ Arsenal Gallery, which is dedicated to examining themes of nature, urban space, wildlife, New York City parks, and park history. It is located on the third floor of Parks’ headquarters in Central Park on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and admission is free. For more information on the Arsenal Gallery, please call 212-360-8114.
Photo of Children Playing Ping Pong at Marcus Garvey (formerly Mt. Morris) Park, April 26, 1943, provided by NYC Parks.