Black Gotham Stories

The Schomburg Center

I began by taking a trip to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture which houses the city’s largest collection of archival material on black New Yorkers.  There I discovered the Rhoda G. Freeman Manuscript and Research Collection which contained all the research material that Freeman had collected for her book, The Free Negro in New York City in the Era before the Civil War.  That’s where I found a page torn from a scrapbook on which the unidentified owner had pasted an obituary of Philip White along with several poems clipped from different printed sources.  The very next item in the collection was an obituary of Peter Guignon.  At the time I had no idea who he was.  The obituary soon informed me that his only daughter Elizabeth was married to Philip White.  That made him Philip's father-in-law and my great-great-grandfather! I now had a second name to work with.

Obituary page of Philip White

Obituary of Philip White

Obituary Page of Peter Guignon

Obituary of Peter Guignon