- The Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans was founded in 1836 and was originally located on Fifth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets in Manhattan. The Colored Orphan Asylum was among the earliest organizations in the country to provide housing, training, and employment specifically for African-American orphans. During the Draft Riots of July 14, 1863, the Colored Orphan Asylum was attacked by a mob. At that time, it housed some 600 to 800 homeless children in a large four story building surrounded by grounds and gardens. The crowd plundered the Asylum, then set fire to the first floor. The building burned to the ground. The records of the Colored Orphan Asylum document the activities of the institution from 1836 to 1972, with the bulk of the records falling between 1850 and 1936.