African americans in yonkers
African American’s came to be a part of the Yonkers community as early as the 17th century. The origins of African American’s in Yonkers evidently go back to the times of slavery. About 40 percent of households within Yonkers owned one or two slaves. Frederick Philipse and Margaret Harden Brock were both the owners of the Philipse Manor Hall in Colonial New York. The Manor Hall was built in the 1680's in several stages and stretched out for 22 continuous miles up the Hudson River. In this manor the Philipses owned more than half of the total average of slaves in New York. The Philipses were directly involved in the slave trades from Britain to the United Sates from 1685 to 1695, and some of those slaves that were working for them in the Yonkers area resided in their Manor Hall. Like the rest of the Northern portion of the country, Yonkers was evolving and slowly abolishing slavery. In the 1600’s African American’s were all slaves and it was not until the late 1700s that there existed a “free” African American. In 1786, New York passed a law freeing all slaves whose masters’ property were confiscated by the government. Six members of the Philipse family had their property confiscated by the government causing all enslaved Africans at the Philipse Manor Hall in Yonkers to be freed on May 1, 1786. In 1790 Yonkers was home to only 12 freed slaves and had a total of 150 African Americans who continued on to be slaves. It was not until 1799 that the emancipation of slavery in all of New York occurred. Even then it was not an immediate and total abolishment but instead “An act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery”. Under this law all children born to slaves after 1799 were freed; women at the age of 25 and men at the age of 28. All slaves born prior were to remain slaves forever. The Philipse Manor Hall representing one of the earliest dates of the liberation of slaves is now a museum of history, art, and architecture in Yonkers, NY.
Today, an organization called Enslaved African’s Rain Garden has formed to publicly honor the slaves who resided in The Philipse Manor Hall. The organization’s mission is “to honor, dignify and restore the humanity of enslaved Africans in America by transforming them from objects to subjects via art in a public place in Yonkers, NY.” Their project goal is to create a meditative sculpture garden in an unused plot of land located adjacent to the Philipse Manor Hall. This is located in the downtown-waterfront district of Yonkers.
 Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, Last modified 2012. Accessed May 6, 2012. http://www.hudsonrivervalley.com.
 "Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site." Last modified 2009. Accessed May 6, 2012. http://www.philipsemanorhall.blogspot.com/.