History Professor Sacks Lends Expertise to NY Times, Lincoln Center
Sacks’ scholarship, related to Black communities in Manhattan, is indispensable to NYC’s flagship paper and the landmark Lincoln Center.
February 17, 2023
By Jake Weber
It’s a story about New York City and its residents — but Albion College history professor Marcy Sacks was the expert who contributed to an article featured in the Feb. 15 edition of the New York Times. The article, “Before Lincoln Center, San Juan Hill was a Vibrant Black Community,” describes the predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhood that was razed to build the Lincoln Center.
It was Sacks’ third time serving as a source for the New York Times. “There are plenty of historians of NYC, but I’m the expert on the period – from the end of the Civil War until WWI,” said Sacks. Her scholarly work hasn’t been limited to NYC, but Sacks’ first book focuses on Blacks living in Manhattan during that time period.
Sacks also contributed to the Lincoln Center website memorializing San Juan Hill. She has been tangentially involved with the website planning for a few years, and was pleased to see its launch earlier this year.
Like so many places targeted for urban renewal or infrastructure projects (think Black Bottom and Paradise Valley in Detroit), San Juan Hill was once a dynamic, thriving Black neighborhood,” says Sacks. “To its credit, Lincoln Center is working to acknowledge the history of its location and the community that once called those streets home. By doing so, they help us all to remember and honor what was lost.”
Marcy Sacks currently serves as chair of Albion College’s History Department and holds the Julian Rammelkamp Professorship in History. She also has published a biography of Joe Louis and is currently working on a book examining white northern soldiers’ encounters with Black southerners during the Civil War.
Other New York Times articles featuring Sacks: