New York Activism Essay

613 words - 3 pages

New York City is commonly recognized as the genesis of cultural trends and one of the initial American cities to cope with increasing social diversity. The Museum of the City of New York’s “Activist New York” exhibition recounts New York City immigrants’ fight for religious freedom from colonial times to the present. Above all, as the United States of America has established and amended a set of national principles, New York City has been the focal point of dissension of religious rights. From the religious suppressions of Dutch Director-General Peter Stuyvesant to the mid-19th century clashes between Protestants and Catholics over the direction of the city’s public education system, to recent times when Muslims found themselves amid controversy over the construction of an Islamic Community Center in the vicinity of Ground Zero, there have been intermittent events pushing the boundaries of religious freedom in New York City. This paper will present three separate events in New York City’s history that have progressed its citizens’ religious rights and entitlements through social activism.
Prior to English control of New York during the colonial period, the colony was known as New Amsterdam. The last Dutch director-general of New Netherlands, which included New Amsterdam, was Peter Stuyvesant. Stuyvesant arrived in 1647 and immediately informed the colonists of his autocratic intentions (Columbia Electronic). During his introductory tour, Stuyvesant noticed garbage on the streets, poorly built houses, and people working on Sunday (Banks 8). The Dutch West India Company had tasked him with generating revenue in the new colony and he concluded to improve lawfulness and conditions in the new colony, religious uniformity must be established. Consequently, Stuyvesant soon banned all public worship of religions other than the Dutch Reformed Church (Lonborg). The Quakers, without doubt, were the religious group that most refused to accept...

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