The Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America

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In-Person Tour: Crafting Freedom: The Life & Legacy of Free Black Potter, Thomas W. Commeraw

April 12, 2023 @ 2:45 pm - 4:00 pm

At the New-York Historical Society

170 Central Park West

Tickets Here!

New-York Historical Society curators will give a private tour of the first exhibition dedicated to Thomas Commeraw, a skilled craftsman in Lower Manhattan active from the 1790s to 1819, whose racial identity was long overlooked.

Born enslaved, Commeraw rose to prominence as a free Black entrepreneur, owning and operating a successful pottery. For two decades, Commeraw amassed property, engaged in debates over state and national politics, and participated in the life of New York City’s free Black community. The exhibition explores Commeraw’s multi-faceted history—as a craftsman, business owner, family man, and citizen—and sheds light on his milieu and techniques for making beautiful utilitarian forms. The potter’s personal, political, and civic activities come alive through other artifacts, newspaper clippings, broadsides, books, and documents, including a certificate of freedom bearing Commeraw’s signature and first-hand accounts of his fraught journey to Sierra Leone with the American Colonization Society.

Ticket price includes full-day Museum admission, individual vouchers for reduced Regular Admission tickets on a future visit, a 10% discount in the Museum Store and access to screenings of films We Rise and New York Story.


April 12, 2023
2:45 pm - 4:00 pm