Seneca village – lesson three


Participants will examine the legacy of forced displacement on Black communities in New York City, specifically focusing on the case of Seneca Village, and consider strategies for ensuring equitable development and community participation in the city’s future. 

Intended for all ages


What do we know about Seneca Village?

  1. Begin by introducing the topic of forced displacement and its impact on Black communities in NYC.

  2. Show a short video clip or share an article about Seneca Village, highlighting the history of the community and the reasons for its destruction.

  3. Lead a discussion about the lasting impact of forced displacement on communities, particularly in terms of loss of culture, identity, and economic stability.

  4. Divide participants into small groups and assign each group a specific aspect of Seneca Village’s history to research (e.g. community life, property ownership, political participation).

  5. Each group should create a list of key facts and events related to their topic, and present their findings to the rest of the group.

  6. After each presentation, lead a brief discussion about the implications of the group’s findings for understanding the legacy of forced displacement on Black communities in NYC.

  7. On a whiteboard or chart paper, create three columns: “Challenges,” “Strategies,” and “Opportunities.”

  8. Ask participants to brainstorm the challenges facing Black communities in NYC today, particularly in terms of development and gentrification.

  9. For each challenge, ask participants to suggest strategies for addressing the issue and creating more equitable outcomes for Black residents.

  10. Finally, ask participants to consider the opportunities for community participation and engagement in shaping the future of NYC.

  11. Ask participants to share their note cards with their key takeaways from the session.

  12. Summarize the key themes and ideas generated during the strategy session, emphasizing the importance of community participation and equitable development in the future of NYC.

  13. Provide participants with additional resources and reading materials to continue their exploration of the legacy of forced displacement in NYC and strategies for addressing these issues.