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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Mark Fisher, AIDS activist

Mark Lowe Fisher (1953 – 1992) was a key figure in the activist group ACT-UP. He died of AIDS and insisted his funeral be political in nature as the AIDS crisis was being ignored by the Bush administration. He wrote a “manifesto” before his death about the government ignoring the AIDS crisis. “My friends decided they don’t want to speak at memorial services. We understand that friends and families need to mourn, but we also understand that we’re dying because of a government and a healthcare system that couldn’t care less. I want to show the reality of my death,… Read More

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Caleb Heathcote, mayor, colonel, leader

Caleb Heathcote (1665 – 1721) served as the 31st Mayor of New York City from 1711 to 1713. He was one of 9 children and 2 of his brothers were baronets of London. He was one of the most prosperous and influential leaders of the Colony in the early 18th century, after coming to North America in 1692 to establish himself as a merchant. He left his mark in the military and church instead of as a merchant. He was a colonel in the militia, and one of the original vestrymen of the Anglican Church.   He and his wife had 6 children. The area of… Read More

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Carl Akeley, father of modern taxidermy

Carl Ethan Akeley (1864 – 1926) was a pioneering taxidermist, sculptor, biologist, conservationist, inventor, and nature photographer. His taxidermy was found in the Field Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History. He grew up in Upstate NY, attended school for only 3 years, but took to taxidermy when taught and and entered an apprenticeship in taxidermy at Ward’s Natural Science Establishment in Rochester, New York. One of his projects was helping preserve Jumbo the Elephant of the Barnum Circus when she was killed in a railroad accident. He lived in Minnesota and Chicago, perfecting his craft. His expertise allowed him to go to Africa with Theodore Roosevelt for… Read More

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Terry Taylor, homeless activist

Terry Taylor was a homeless man, an activist for the rights of the homeless. He considered himself an activist for human rights and marched on Washington in 1989. He marched against police killings, and for health care and welfare. He lived in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village of Manhattan on the night the police raided the park and removed over 300 homeless people in August of 1988. He died in 1992 of AIDS at St. Vincent’s hospital. Please follow and like us:

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Samuel Latham Mitchill, doctor, naturalist, politician

Samuel Latham Mitchill (1764 – 1831) was a physician, naturalist, and politician. He attended medical school at the University of Edinburgh. He returned to the United States after medical school and completed law school. As a lawyer he oversaw the purchase of lands in western New York from the Iroquois Indians in 1788. He taught chemistry, botany, and natural history at Columbia College from 1792 until 1801 and was a founding editor of The Medical Repository, the first medical journal in the United States. Besides teaching, practicing medicine and research, he also became involved in politics. He served in the New York Assembly, the US House of Representatives, and became a Senator.… Read More

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George Petrie, YMCA founder in NYC

George Petrie (1828 – 1902), a young New York City businessman, was instrumental in the founding of the YMCA in New York City after being inspired by his visits to the London YMCA while visiting the Great Exhibition of 1850. Petrie brought back literature on the London facilities and organized a committee around the ideas of the London YMCA. With the help of Mercer Street Presbyterian’s Rev. Isaac Ferris, Petrie set up a temporary facility in rooms on the third floor of the old New York City Lyceum at 659 Broadway. Many men new to the city, flocked to the… Read More

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