The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

The Military Draft

Where was the Colored Orphan Asylum?

It was in midtown Manhattan, very close to where the main branch of the New York Public Library stands today. The asylum housed 320 children, all of whom recognized that they were rather lucky to be cared for in such a fine place. There were organized games, books to read, and a staff that was trained under the best, most modern methods. The asylum was, quite likely, the best of its kind.

The mob was moving from midtown to downtown when shouts arose: “Kill the niggers! Burn their nest!” With that, hundreds of furious people began setting fire to the building. How and why people would turn against children was something of a mystery then, and it remains so today.


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