227 Duffield St., located on Abolitionist Place in downtown Brooklyn, is the last known standing historic site in Brooklyn where well-known abolitionists lived and where people found freedom through the Underground Railroad. Its demolition is imminent. Since the City’s downtown Brooklyn development plan demolished all other Duffield Street historic residences, 227 Duffield represents the last known standing property to continue the legacy of African American history of resistance in New York City and nationwide and should be preserved as a city landmark. Joy Chatel, former inhabitant and owner pictured above, fought for its preservation until her death in 2014. May she rest in power. Photo taken from https://www.gofundme.com/htxtis
With a lack of African American historical sites in Brooklyn, we cannot stop at the installation of statues recognizing historical figures. We must also work to preserve the physical movements of our ancestors. 227 Duffield Street was home to two prominent African American Abolitionists who were friends of and hosted William Lloyd Garrison. The property embodies the role Brooklyn and New York City played in the Abolitionist movement at a time when the Fugitive Slave Act was the law of the land. We cannot allow such an invaluable piece of our history to be erased. Historical scholar Cheryl Janifer LaRoche said a study commissioned by New York City’s Economic Development Corporation “provides overwhelming evidence” of abolitionist activity on the block.
As community leaders and Brooklyn residents, we are asking Lisa Kersavage, Executive Director of the NYC Landmark Preservation Commission, to review 227 Duffield St. for landmark status and preserve this location as part of our collective history. She possess the power to stay the demolition order. Please join us in honoring the sacred ground our ancestors walked in the fight for freedom, by investing in it as a community preservation project and not as in its’ permanent eradication.
The Last Stand of Brooklyn’s Underground Railroad