Ahead of this year’s Juneteenth holiday on June 19, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the creation of an interactive audio tour that explores the city’s abolitionist history.

The tour, “More Than a Brook: Brooklyn Abolitionist Heritage Walk,” is an interactive audio tour that explores Brooklyn’s history as a critical neighborhood for the National Abolitionist Movement and the Underground Railroad. The audio tour can be accessed on a smartphone, tablet, or other device through the Landmark Preservation Commission’s (LPC) website.

The interactive audio tour was commissioned by LPC and created by Kamau Studios and Black Gotham Experience. This project has been supported by a grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and financed in part with Federal funds from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.

“New York City’s designated landmark sites and historic districts tell our shared story, and Brooklyn is home to an incredible collection of historic landmark buildings that connect us to our past and highlight the central role New Yorkers played in the fight against slavery,” said LPC Chair Sarah Carroll. “This immersive audio tour lifts up their stories, honoring the memory of those who suffered and fought for justice and freedom. This Juneteenth is a reminder that the fight for equity is part of our collective heritage as New Yorkers and we must work to create a more just and fairer city for future generations to come.”

The three-part audio experience guides participants through Brooklyn’s abolitionist history, incorporating 19 stops and highlighting the many landmark sites along a 4.5-mile walkable path. The path features the residences of abolitionists Lewis Tappan and Harriet and Thomas Truesdell, and religious spaces, including Plymouth Church, Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, and the Friends Meeting House.

The audio tour also introduces important local historic figures in the abolition movement, including businesswoman Elizabeth Gloucester, pioneering sisters Dr. Susan Smith McKinney-Steward and educator Sarah J. Tompkins Garnet, and Plymouth Church preacher Henry Ward Beecher.

“Our public spaces are where New Yorkers connect — not just with their neighbors and with the great outdoors, but also with our history,” said New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “Thanks to this creative collaboration, New Yorkers will discover Brooklyn’s rich abolitionist heritage while experiencing our historic buildings and treasured greenspaces in a brand-new way. With Juneteenth around the corner, this audio tour is an important contribution to our ongoing efforts to uplift Black history and ensure our city is equitable and just for all New Yorkers.”

City leaders said the tour reflects LPC’s ongoing commitment to equity and inclusion in all their work as part of the agency’s Equity Framework. Specifically, LPC is focused on making the significant history embodied in NYC landmarks more accessible and expanding educational outreach efforts to reach new and diverse audiences.

LPC’s website offers additional resources, including interactive story map “New York City and the Path to Freedom,” which explores New York City’s abolitionist history across all five boroughs through designated landmarks.

“With Juneteenth upon us, I am proud that we are launching this Heritage Walk to tell the world about New York City’s abolitionist history,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “This interactive walking tour will bring to life the integral role Brooklyn played in the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement. People from all over the world will learn what New Yorkers did to stamp out the moral blight of slavery, and Brooklynites will take pride in their neighborhood knowing this rich history. This exemplifies our goal to uplift all communities and share everyone’s history in our Gorgeous Mosaic.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs