top of page
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric K. Washington is the author of Boss of the Grips: The Life of James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal (Liveright/W.W. Norton), a biography of a once influential Harlem Renaissance-era labor figure.
He is a past A'Lelia Bundles Community Scholar, 2014-2017 (Columbia University), and a Fellow in Residence at Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France, 2017 (Museum of Fine Arts Houston/Brown Foundation). His member affiliations include the American Historical Association (AHA), the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the Organization of American Historians (OAH) and the NYU Biography Seminar. He serves on the board of directors of the Biographers International Organization (BIO), and chairs its Frances "Frank" Rollin Fellowship that is awarded annually for a biography-in-progress on an African American figure or figures. Eric is also on New York City's Archives, Reference and Research Advisory Board (ARRAB) of the Municipal Archives.
Eric is an independent historian. His proposal for Boss of the Grips, garnered him the Leon Levy Center for Biography Fellowship, 2015-2016 (CUNY). For his published book he was honored as winner of Columbia University's Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in New York History, winner of the Guides Association of New York City's GANYC Apple Award and finalist for the Municipal Art Society of New York's Brendan Gill Prize. The locale of his first book, Manhattanville: Old Heart of West Harlem (Arcadia), inspired his interpretive signage in West Harlem Piers Park, a design project awarded the Municipal Art Society's 2010 MASterworks Award.
His research for Boss of the Grips gave rise to Eric becoming the preeminent historian and advocate of Manhattan's (Former) Colored School No. 4 — the last known building from 19th-century New York City's segregated public school system to which African American students and teachers were relegated — where his protagonist had attended grammar school in the 1880s-90s. In November 2018 Eric initiated and spearheaded the collaborative effort whose direct result was the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission's unanimous vote, on May 23, 2023, to designate the extant 1849-50 schoolhouse at 128 West 17th Street as an individual protected landmark. He was subsequently presented the Historic District Council's 2023 Grassroots Preservation Award, and the Victorian Society of New York's 2022 Preservation Award.
A New York City native and licensed tour guide, Eric also owns the registered DBA moniker Tagging-the-Past, which endeavors to reconnect forgotten history to present landscapes through articles, consulting, public history talks and tours.
Eric is represented by the Faith Childs Literary Agency.
bottom of page