See the real New York City beyond the usual tourist sites with We Can Tour That

First time visitors to New York City generally head straight for Times Square, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. While these are all must see attractions, they are just the tip of the iceberg of all that the city has to offer. To really get to know the city, you need to venture outside the well trafficked tourist districts and head for the neighborhoods where New Yorkers live. In other words, you have to go off the beaten path and explore. Our goal at We Can Tour That is to assist you in seeing all that New… Read More

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Bruce Wright, judge

Bruce McMarion Wright (1917 – 2005) was a jurist who served on the New York State Supreme Court. Though he was born in Baltimore, he spent most of his adult life in Harlem. In 1939, he received a scholarship to  Princeton University, but was denied admission when he arrived and the university learned that he was black.  Notre Dame also denied him admission on the same grounds. He was able to study at Virginia Union University, and graduated from Lincoln University in 1942. He served in the Army, in a segregated unit during World War II and eventually ended up in Paris. His early ambition to become a poet was fulfilled when… Read More

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Isaac Hopper, abolitionist, prison reformer

Isaac Tatem Hopper (1771 – 1852) was an abolitionist who was active in Philadelphia in the anti-slavery movement and protecting fugitive slaves and free blacks from slave kidnappers. He moved to New York City in 1829 to run a Quaker bookstore. From 1841-1845 he served as treasurer and book agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1845 he became active in prison reform and devoted the rest of his life to the Prison Association of New York. He influenced his daughter, who started the Women’s Prison Association to work for prison reform as well. His work was known by legislatures in Albany and the governor trusted his opinion on the pardoning… Read More

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John Pintard, Jr., merchant, philanthropist

John Pintard, Jr. (1759 – 1844) was a merchant and philanthropist. He was born in NY and orphaned by 18 months. He was raised by his uncle, Lewis Pintard, and attended grammar school in Hempstead, New York. He attended the university that would eventually become Princeton, but left school to join the patriot forces when the British arrived in New York. He went on various expeditions to harass the enemy. He served as deputy commissary of prisoners at New York. He was rated as one of the most successful merchants in NYC when in 1792 he lost his fortune by engaging with William Duer in Alexander Hamilton’s scheme to… Read More

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Melancton Smith, delegate to the Continental Congress

Melancton Smith (1744 – 1798) was a New York delegate to the Continental Congress.  He was born on Long Island, home schooled and moved to Poughkeepsie, where he became a a delegate to the first New York Provincial Congress in New York on May 22, 1775. He served in the Continental Line Regiment on June 30, 1775, which he organized as the Dutchess County Rangers. Smith moved to New York City in 1785 where he was a prominent merchant. He helped found the New York Manumission Society in opposition to slavery and served in the Continental Congress from 1785 to 1787. He was the most important Anti-federalist member of the State ratification convention… Read More

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Jane Colden, botanist

Jane Colden (1724 – 1766) was the first female botanist in the United States. She is most famous for her manuscript in which she describes the flora of the New York area, and draws ink drawings of 340 different species of them. She was born in New York City and educated at home. Her father gave her botanical training by following the new system of classification developed by Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist. Between 1753 and 1758, Ms. Colden catalogued New York’s flora, compiling specimens and information on more than 300 species of plants from the lower Hudson River Valley. She developed a technique for making… Read More

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Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany, dentist, civil rights pioneer

Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany (1891 – 1995) was a dentist and civil rights pioneer. She earned her dental degree (DDS) from Columbia University in 1923, only the second African American woman licensed to practice dentistry in New York State.  She was one of 10 children raised by a former slave who became a bishop in his church and a teacher in North Carolina. She attended St. Augustine’s in North Carolina and after graduation, came to NYC and enrolled in Columbia University, where she was the only African American woman in a class of 170.  She shared a dental office with her brother, Dr. H.… Read More

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James Butler, AFSCME union president

James Butler was elected AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) Union president of Local 420 in 1972, and immediately took on the battle for better pay, benefits and educational opportunities, and against privatization and hospital closings. Butler studied at City College and worked at Fordham Hospital starting in 1954. He led the Union through the financial crisis in New York City in the 1970s. Butler raised the public profile of the Local through rallies, marches, involvement in community affairs and a firm commitment to national, and even international, campaigns for civil rights and human rights. The Union,… Read More

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