Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Matthew Reilly

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Archaeological Anthropology | Digital Humanities | Museum Studies | Other History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Public History | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Justice | United States History


historical archaeology, new york city history, historic sites, museums, whiteness, racial justice


In the United States, transatlantic slavery was a racial project and template for race-making which created a country that relied on institutions that were organized and performed through social stratification. Today, the nation still operates on systemically racist institutions that have benefited whites while disadvantaging ‘others.’ The narratives presented in American history are rooted in whiteness and benefit the white community while marginalizing nonwhites. Over two hundred years of slavery history in this country has been purposely manipulated and left out. My research focuses on using an historical archaeological framework to research and share the lives of free and enslaved Africans in 17th – 19th century Upper Manhattan. By revisiting documents and materials in the 21st century, I can apply Black, Indigenous, and feminist lenses with a critical pedagogical approach to counteract intentional misinterpretations of the past. My capstone project is a digital storytelling of the lived experiences of free and enslaved Africans in Upper Manhattan. I challenge cultural institutions to learn and develop best practices for implementing enslaved narratives at their sites.

North of the Grid_ The Black Experience of 17th -19th Century Rural New York City Website.html (368 kB)
Capstone Project Website - North of the Grid: The Black Experience of 17th -19th Century Rural New York City

Stephanie Barnes North of the Grid WARC.warc (130307 kB)
Archived website as a WARC file