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Public Art to Celebrate the Liberation of Yonkers Enslaved Africans 2017


The exhibit will be open for public viewing at the Yonkers Riverfront Library until the other three sculptures are completed in 2019. At that time, all the sculptures will be permanently installed in the Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden on the banks of the Hudson River in Yonkers. In addition, a film that features an original story about The Boatman (written and performed by spoken-word artist, Ty Gray-El, with the photography of Leslie Jean-Bart) will be projected onto the exterior wall of the Yonkers Riverfront Library at night, which will inform and empower the Yonkers community as well as humanize enslaved Africans, bringing dignity to their memory.



The Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden (EARG), Inc., is the non-profit 501(c)(3) arts organization that was created to promote public art that celebrates the history ofenslaved Africans, inspires future artists, and educates and empowers the community-at-large. EARG’s President, the Honorable Patricia McDow, points out: “150 Years afteremancipation, the fact that our nation has built monuments to almost every U.S. historical event of significance while neglecting slavery negates the contributions of millions ofenslaved people to our national heritage. They deserve the full respect of having their dignity restored. The strongest aspect of the Enslaved African’ Rain Garden Initiative is thatit begins to address reciprocity by giving a voice to the previously unheard via accessible art in a public place.”



Artist Vinnie Bagwell is leading the development and creation of the public artwork for the Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden that interprets the legacy of enslaved Africanswho lived and worked at the Philipse Manor Hall — six of whom were among the first to be manumitted by law in the United States in 1799, 64 years before the Emancipation Proclamation. The law was written in New York State by U.S. Founding Father John Jay, the future first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Former Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Hon. Patricia McDow brought the story of the enslaved Africans at Philipse Manor Hall to Ms. Bagwell’s attention in 2009, which sparked the idea of creating a public art initiative to honor enslaved Africans.


About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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