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Underground Railroad Research Forum

227 Duffield Street (Brooklyn, NY)

From an e-mail I received:

227 Abolitionist Place (aka 227 Duffield Street) is a home in Downtown Brooklyn between the Fulton Mall and MetroTech. The area was an enclave of Abolitionist activity at a time when most New Yorkers supported slavery. The owner of 227, Joy Chatel, decided to turn her home into a museum to celebrate the inspiring history of her home and the block. More than a dozen historians have studied the site, and they have come to the conclusion that in addition to Abolitionist activity, the home represents the most exciting site for underground railroad slave safehouse research in the country. The NYC Economic Development Corporation, on the other hand, wanted to confiscate the homes using eminent domain, destroy them and build an underground parking lot in their place. After almost four years of advocacy, in late 2007 the City agreed to let the owners pursue their vision.

The activists' achievement in protecting 227 Abolitionist Place was recognized by many publications as one of the most important New York stories of 2007. It is an inspiration to all New Yorkers who want sensible and respectful development.

The Current Situation
While 227 Abolitionist Place in no longer threatened with the wrecking ball, many difficult challenges remain. Massive hotels and other mega-developments are rising on every side of 227 Abolitionist Place.

Our Vision for the Future
We have a chance to turn 227 Duffield into an important attraction for Downtown Brooklyn, which can help develop a vibrant economy for everyone. More importantly, we can share the history of the brave people who believed in freedom at the time when our country went astray. This is not only good for Brooklyn— this is good for the United States. We want to create an independent museum not reliant on the whims of politicians/developers.

Downtown Brooklyn is quickly becoming a generic land of high-rise luxury condos and high-rise hotels. It is more than that— it remains a community of people who believe that humans cannot be bought and sold.

We can do better. With your help.
Join Us February 29, 2008
for the 227 Duffield Street Fundraiser

at Danny Simmons’ Rush Corridor Gallery
334 Grand Avenue | Fort Greene, Brooklyn
(between Lexington & Gates; A or C train to Clinton/Washington

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

for more information (plus info on how to
help even if you can't attend the fundraiser),
please visit these websites:

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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