MAAP | Mapping the African American Past

Downing's Oyster House - 4th Grade Adaptation


How did African-American entrepreneurs contribute to the antebellum economy of New York City?

At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to:
  • Assess the contributions of entrepreneurs such as Thomas Downing to the economy and social life of antebellum New York
  • Identify the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur
  • Contrast the image of a wealthy, successful free African American to the commonly-held image of antebellum African Americans as poor and enslaved

Essential Questions:

  • How did free African Americans contribute to the building of New York?
  • How did the unique social and economic fabric of New York contribute to the building of African American social and economic institutions?

Produced by CCNMTL, Chase, Teachers College, and CCI