A Story that Deserves to be Told

A public-art initiative commemorating the lives of enslaved Africans who lived at the Philipse Manor Hall in Yonkers, New York—six of whom were the first to be manumitted by law in the United States, in 1799 (66 years before the Emancipation Proclamation). The law was written in New York State by U.S. Founding Father John Jay, then future, first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Artist Vinnie Bagwell is leading the development and creation of the public artwork for the Enslaved Africans' Rain Garden. Hon. Patricia McDow, former Yonkers City-Council Majority Leader, brought the story of the enslaved Africans at Philipse Manor Hall to Vinnie Bagwell's attention in 2009, which sparked the idea of creating a public-art initiative to honor enslaved Africans.

Now, in 2016, the New York State Council on the Arts funded the City of Yonkers for the creation of the first-of-five life-sized bronze sculptures for an urban-heritage sculpture garden on the shore of the Hudson River.

For more information, please watch the documentary below.


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