New York City, at its core, is heavily influenced by the innovations and revolutionary work of Black people. This work has imbued every period of the city’s history from the fight for liberation during the Slave Revolt of 1712 to the monumental activism of trans women and queer folk (such as Marsha P. Johnson), who have paved the way for Pride and queer and trans rights. The community’s contribution to the city’s (and world’s) culture includes everything from the groundbreaking creativity of Black artists, musicians, writers, actors, and others during the Harlem Renaissance to the birth of hip-hop at Cedar Playground in the Bronx.
Despite these feats, Black people still face a lot of oppression and discrimination, especially in the form of racism, gentrification, and financial inequities. But the legacies of our ancestors live on through continued work, education, and social justice and cultural movements led by Black activists, artists, and community leaders. This includes protests; continued conversations on bail reform and the prison-industrial complex; the influence of rap and Brooklyn drill music through artists such as Maiya the Don and Ice Spice; and the city’s various Black history cultural centers, museums, and other institutions. And then there’s Carver Bank (one of the largest African- and Caribbean-American managed banks in the United States), which dedicates its resources to assisting Black and further marginalized people who have historically been disenfranchised from accessing capital and generating wealth.