There are many reasons to hate Manhattan’s Wall Street. It’s the home of miserable bankers on the brink of mental breakdown, expensive lunch options and, of course, the dreaded 1%ers. But black people have a whole other reason to hate Wall St and it’s about time we all learned about it.
THE DARK HISTORY OF BLACK PEOPLE AT WALL STREET
Go to Wall Street today and you’ll see shiny buildings and crowded stock markets. However, a different type of trade existed in the 1700’s. Then, it was the site of a popular slave market where slaveholders bought, sold, and traded black people and Native Americans like products.
In 1771, the city officially sanctioned the human market at Wall St and collected a sales tax when someone bought or sold a slave. In 1762, the market finally closed down but slaves were still legal in New York until 1841.
WALL STREET PREVENTED BLACK PEOPLE FROM REBELLING
While the Wall Street slave market was primarily a place to buy and sell slaves, it had another purpose. Considering there were so many slaves around, many colonists were fearful of a slave rebellion. These weren’t country slaves. They were city slaves. City slaves had a little more freedom and were usually unsupervised.
Hence, slaveholders thought the best way to crush an uprising was to limit the time black people spent with each other. With a market, people could buy and sell slaves quickly, preventing them from getting too comfortable in one place.
BLACK PEOPLE BUILT WALL STREET
Donald Trump would have loved the old Wall St. This might come as a surprise to you, but Wall St. was once a wall. Want to guess who build that wall? Well, it certainly wasn’t the rich, white slaveholders. In 1653, the Dutch Governor William Kieft built a wall to separate New York from those hostile Native Americans. Today, it’s just symbolic wall that separates the rich from the poor.