Thursday, February 13, 2014


Black History Month Trolley Tour 
Saturday, February 22nd, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Abolitionists, artists, soldiers, ex-slaves, business tycoons.... A special Black History Month trolley tour of Green-Wood Cemetery will honor African Americans and their allies, who helped shape the course of American history. 

The interesting and knowledgeable cemetery historian Jeff Richman will lead the tour, which will feature the lives and significant achievements of more than two dozen people buried in Green-Wood Cemetery.

Among the highlights will be the gravesite of Isaac Hopper (1771-1852), an abolitionist and prison reformer who devoted his life to helping others and protecting black Americans from slave kidnappers.

Hopper, whose daughter Abigail's burial place will also be visited, opened an abolitionist bookstore on Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan and was instrumental in helping Solomon Northrop publish his memoir, Twelve Years a Slave--now an Academy Award-nominated film.

Richman will introduce tour-goers to Civil War General Ormsby M. Mitchel (1810-1862), who, in 1862, envisioned and helped create the first town for escaped slaves in America--Mitchelville on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Also on the tour will be a visit to the final resting places of James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), who co-wrote "Lift Every Voice and Sing," known as the "Negro National Anthem;" Samuel E. Cornish (1795-1858), who published and edited Freedom’s Journal, the first African American newspaper in America; and world-renowned contemporary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), among others.

Some other stops will be the burial spots of 

  • Dr. Susan Smith McKinney-Steward (1846-1918), first black female doctor in New York State; 
  • Abigail Hopper Gibbons (1801-1893) and James S. Gibbons (1810-1892), abolitionists whose home was a stop on the Underground Railroad;  
  • Margaret (1815-1865) and Scipio Franks (unknown-1875), born into slavery, she was freed then bought her husband’s freedom; 
  • John E. Cook (1830-1859), abolitionist insurgent who took part in John Brown's raid on the U.S. Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, hoping to trigger a slave rebellion; 
  • Lewis Tappan (1788-1873), an early abolitionist who convinced former President John Quincy Adams to defend the Amistad Crew, as featured in the 1997 film Amistad;
  • Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), preacher, social reformer, and abolitionist who held auctions in Brooklyn Heights to purchase freedom for slaves;
  •  Civil War General George Crockett Strong (1832-1863), who led the African American 54th Massachusetts Regiment in the Union attack on Fort Wagner, as featured in the movie Glory;
  •  Jeremiah G. Hamilton (1806/7-1885), financial agent and New York's first black millionaire; and 
  • Cedar Walton, (1934-2013), jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer.

Cost of the trolley tour: $20 for the general public; $15 for members of the Green-Wood Historic Fund and the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Reservations are recommended. To make a reservation online or to find out more, go to or call (718) 210-3080.

Green-Wood Cemetery is located on 25th Street at 5th Avenue in Brooklyn.

Via subway, take the R from the Atlantic/Barclays Center stop in Brooklyn to 25th Street. (Service on the R between Manhattan and Brooklyn is suspended until October 2014.) Walk east one block to Green-Wood Cemetery at 5th Avenue and 25rh Street.

If you drive there, free parking will be available to you.