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Downing, George Thomas (30 December 1819–21 July 1903), abolitionist, businessman, and civil rights advocate, was born in New York City, the son of Thomas Downing, a restaurant owner, and Rebecca West. His father’s Oyster House was a gathering place for New York’s aristocracy and politicians. Young Downing attended Charles Smith’s school on Orange Street and, with future black abolitionists ...

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Grossinger, Jennie (16 June 1892–20 November 1972), businesswoman and philanthropist, was born in Baligrod, a village in Galicia, Austria, the daughter of Asher Selig Grossinger, an estate overseer, and Malke Grumet. Selig Grossinger sought a better life for his family in the United States. He traveled to New York City in 1897 and took a job as a coat presser. Jennie, her mother, and sister Lottie followed him to the Lower East Side three years later. Jennie had some Jewish elementary school education and four years of public school education at P.S. 174. She quit formal schooling to work as a buttonhole maker but continued to take some night school classes following her eleven-hour-day job....