Abolitionist Place is located in Downtown Brooklyn on Duffield Street between Fulton Mall and MetroTech. Duffield Street contains seven buildings that are said to have been associated with the Underground Railroad. It was renamed Abolitionist Place in September of 2007 in honor of those who took a stand against slavery. Luckily, Joy Chatel, the owner of 227 Duffield, is adamant about preserving this Civil Rights landmark.
Backstory and Context
Former tenants of the home have reported findings of old stoves and iron cauldrons there, leading the current tenants to believe that the sub-basements of these houses served as feeding stations for escaped slaves passing through Brooklyn.
The area around Duffield Street is also rich in history. Polytechnic University's student center is located two blocks from Duffield Street. In 1860, the center was the Bridge Street African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church, Brooklyn's first African-American church, as well as an abolitionist site. Then, just ten minutes from Duffield Street, Plymouth Church can be found. Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass all attended this church. It is well known for its connection to the Underground Railroad. In fact, the tunnels beneath the homes on Duffield Street were believed to have led to this church.
Today, 227 Abolitionist Place no longer faces threats of being demolished. However, it does still face many challenges such as raising money and gaining support to turn the home into a small museum and cultural center. The preservation of historical sites like this will provide more education on the history of the United States as the country moves forward.
Furman, Robert. "History on Duffield Street." New York The Sun. 6/20/07. Accessed Web, 6/15/17. http://www.nysun.com/opinion/history-on-duffield-street/56955/.
Rebhorn, Emma. "The Case Of The Duffield Street Homes." The Brooklyn Rail. 9/4/07. Accessed Web, 6/15/17. http://brooklynrail.org/2007/09/local/the-case-of-the-duffield-street-homes.
"Downtown BK Underground Railroad Soap Opera Continues." Curbed New York. 11/14/08. Accessed Web, 6/15/17. https://ny.curbed.com/2008/11/14/10553802/downtown-bk-underground-railroad-soap-opera-continues.