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Archaeology of Identity and DissonanceContexts for a Brave New World$
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Diane F. George  and Bernice Kurchin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056197

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056197.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 16 February 2020

Constructing Identity in Seneca Village

Constructing Identity in Seneca Village

Chapter:
(p.157) 8 Constructing Identity in Seneca Village
Source:
Archaeology of Identity and Dissonance
Author(s):

Diana Dizerega Wall

Nan A. Rothschild

Meredith B. Linn

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813056197.003.0008

This chapter explores the issue of identity in Seneca Village, a nineteenth-century, middle-class, black community located in what is now Central Park in New York City. The city evicted the residents in 1857, and until recently this important village was forgotten. Using information from historical documents and material culture (including landscaping and both the form and decoration of dishes) excavated from the site in 2011, this study examines the intersection of class, race, and nationality. The evidence suggests that the identity of at least one family there was made of many strands: they may have identified themselves as members of the black middle class, as Americans, as African Americans, and perhaps even as Africans, depending on the situation and the audience. Skillful use of these strands may have been one way in which this and other village families attempted to ameliorate oppression and to make a place for themselves.

Keywords:   Central Park, Seneca Village, Black middle class

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