By Mike Wallace
It's well known that – for more than two centuries – Wall Street has been repeatedly swept by financial panics, and that the American economy has repeatedly crumpled into recession or depression. It's less well known that virtually each collapse has been met by outraged protest, particularly in New York City, Wall Street's home town. In what follows, I describe several of these upheavals.
In April 2001, The Gotham Center hosted a conference on Teaching New York City History in K-12 Schools. Over 400 teachers attended twenty-four presentations. We had such an overwhelming response to the first conference that we were able to accommodate more participants and more presentations in 2003. This time, over 600 teachers attended thirty-six presentations. The conference offered both public and private school teachers the much needed opportunity to gather and share ideas, lessons and programs. To the best of our knowledge, this is the only conference to focus on these needs.
This well-attended day-long conference addressed the original New Deal, its rollbacks and revivals in the second half of the twentieth century, and its potential as a model for the future. The gathering built upon Mike Wallace's new book, A New Deal for New York, which urges us to think boldly about rebuilding the entire city, not just Lower Manhattan, and to do so in tandem with other recession-wounded cities and states around the country.
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