Over 300 hundred years ago Alexander Hamilton, then just a 19-year-old boy, came to New York and changed the course of American history. With creating the Coast Guard, The New York Post, and passing the idea of national banks, Hamilton put footstones down for future generations to walk upon.
Thanks to Broadway legend Lin Manuel Miranda, we got to see his story in a different view. Rather than reading in a bulky textbook, Miranda chose to put Hamilton’s story into music, more specifically into the hip-hop genre. With the musical running for 2 hours and 45 minutes, you get to see the life of one of the greatest founding fathers. The hardships he faces, his marriage, his affair, and even his death are all portrayed through ballads sung by the talents of the theatre universe.
With a recent trip to New York, I got to go and see where Hamilton is buried. It was a beautiful day, birds chirping, the sky blue with minimal clouds. His gravestone, one of the biggest in the entire cemetery, stands proudly with its marble exterior. Right next to him is his wife Eliza, and next to them both is there son Philip. Sadly we are unaware of where Philip is actually buried but there is still a placard displaying his name next to his parents.
The church bells were ringing and the cars where honking by and yet there was a sense of peacefulness. It sort of takes you out of the hustle and bustle of the city, which was Hamilton’s favorite. Many people gathered around his grave, throwing coins and saying prayers. Many people had shirts on with ‘Hamilton’ lyrics on them. It makes you wonder if he can see those clothes.
On the other side of the cemetery is Eliza’s sister, Angelica Schuyler Church, who was very close to the married couple. Hercules Mulligan also lies in the cemetery, working closely with Hamilton during the American Revolution as a spy.
As I stood in front of their graves, I got a sense of sadness. Sadness because of their death? Sadness because I know what they went through? I’m not sure. I was drawn to their plots. I didn’t want to leave. Once I did, I sat down, pulled out my notebook and started writing. Not poems or stories but bullet-pointed thoughts on what it was like there. I could imagine Eliza standing at Alexander's grave with tears in her eyes and a 1800th-century black dress on. It was like they were there. While I wrote I felt my eyes welling up with tears. Being not only a history lover but a theatre lover, my heart was filled with every single emotion. I couldn’t imagine that I was there. This is where someone lies that changed the history of this entire country.
Whether you’re a history lover, a theatre lover, or somewhere in between, I would recommend taking a look at this beautiful site. Knowing what Hamilton has done for this country, while he wasn’t even born here, makes this feeling of pride pour out of your body. A 19-year-old immigrant boy comes over from the Caribbean, with nothing, and changes the course of this country. Although people ignored him and didn’t like what he wanted, he pushed through and got those people to change their minds and I can’t imagine what America would be if he never got that ticket to come to New York.
Come to New York, step away from the bright lights and just sit. I promise you it will make you feel peace and calm, which is hard in a big city like this.
He taught me to not be afraid to have my own opinion, even if it’s different from everyone elses. You’re always going to have people who comment on what you’re doing but if you really want it, go for it and don’t listen to them.