Underground Railroad Stop in Brooklyn

unknown Aug 31, 2005

A group of downtown Brooklyn residents are warning that the city is preparing to seize and demolish a row of homes of Duffield and Gold streets that may have once been used as safehouses on the Underground Railroad. The homes all fall within the boundaries of the Downtown Brooklyn redevelopment plan.  “These seven houses are last of their kind in downtown Brooklyn,” writes Lewis Greenstein, who lives at 233 Duffield. “The basements and tunnels should be retained for posterity so it bears witness to that era of America’s history where people put their lives on the line to save another human life rather then to enslave them.” Greenstein noted that 227 Duffield was built 158 years ago by the prominent abolitionists Thomas and Harriet Truesdell. The city has so far claimed that there is no definitive evidence linking the homes to the Underground Railroad. But under mounting pressure, the city is hiring an oral historian to help make a final determination. One historian already hired by the city has suggested the homes were indeed part of the Underground Railroad. After visiting the site in July, A.J. Williams-Myers, professor of black history at SUNY-New Paltz, wrote “I saw what indeed may have been the very secreted, below-ground facilities used by those in search of freedom.”

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