MAAP | Mapping the African American Past

Downing's Oyster House


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:

  • What role did African-American owned businesses and communities play in the expansion of New York City?

Produced by CCNMTL, Chase, Teachers College, and CCI