Brooklyn home believed to be part of Underground Railroad purchased by city

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN (WABC) -- A Downtown Brooklyn home that is believed to have been part of the Underground Railroad has been purchased by the City of New York.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission last month designated 227 Duffield Street as a historical landmark. It comes after local activists fought for its preservation for decades, arguing it marks a historic safety route for escaped slaves.

The home is the last remaining original structure on a block co-named 'Abolitionist Place,' because several anti-slavery activists lived there in the mid-1800s.

In 2007, Attorney General Letitia James passed legislation to rename the block, and successfully stopped the city from tearing down the structure for new development.

In July 2020, she testified before the Landmarks Preservation Commission about the importance of designating the site as a landmark and protecting it for generations to come.

"Brooklyn's 227 Abolitionist Place, formerly Duffield Street, represents one of the most important ties that New York has to our abolitionist roots, roots that every Black New Yorker is proud of," she said. "During this time of national reckoning over the legacy of slavery and continued injustice faced by Black communities, maintaining that piece of history is critical in remembering how far we've come, and how far we still must go. Since my time in the City Council, I have fought for the protection of this important site, and now, I am immensely proud that during Black History Month, we can finally say it's here to stay. This piece of Black New York history will be forever safeguarded so that future generations may know its story."

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