Crown Heights

Gillibrand, Clarke urge National Park Service to place Crown Heights North Historic District on National Register of Historic Places

Location to Include Site of Late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s Residence

April 7, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. AP Photo/Finley
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U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke on Thursday wrote to the National Park Service urging for Crown Heights North Historic District to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Gillibrand and Clarke requested to extend the original boundary in Bedford-Stuyvesant currently covered by the National Register after the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission revealed an additional 636 historic buildings, as well as documentation, that added significant cultural history to the recognition in the Crown Heights North Historic District.

The extension would include several residences of the late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm when she lived in the neighborhood. The Crown Heights District was previously added to the Register in 2014, which included over 1,019 historic properties.

“Shirley Chisholm is a true inspiration, especially to young women in New York City; her advocacy on behalf of families left an indelible mark on the community,” said Gillibrand. “Shirley Chisholm lived in Crown Heights during the most prominent times of her life and this designation to the National Register would be a fitting tribute to her legacy, service to the nation and the community she fought for everyday of her life.”

“As a visionary, public servant and as a fighter, Shirley Chisolm embodied the spirit of a true pioneer and trailblazer,” stated Clarke (NY-09). “With a career in public service that spanned decades, Shirley Chisolm represented her district with a profound personal understanding of the adversities faced by minority communities by advocating for greater equity, justice and fairness not only in our city, but also in the nation.

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“This nomination will grant recognition of her achievements as a national advocate for civil rights, as well as protect the historic and architectural significance of this Brooklyn neighborhood,” Clarke continued.

Gillibrand and Clarke explained in their letter to the National Park Service that this nomination adds an additional area of architectural and cultural historical significance to the Crown Heights Historic District. An important piece of the area’s history includes the emergence of civil rights leaders and pioneers of social change. The northern area of Crown Heights is most famously associated with Chisholm, the nation’s first African-American woman elected to Congress. 

Chisholm served 14 years in Congress, sponsoring over 50 pieces of legislation; and was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Women’s Caucus. During her career, Chisholm lived in four locations in the historic district including homes on Prospect Place, Sterling Place and St. John’s Place.

In addition, the district is home to a collection of architectural buildings including the “Kinko” houses, the Colonial and Gothic inspired century-old townhouses and the Shaari Zedek Synagogue. This designation would also recognize another important figure and well-known African-American author, Richard Wright.


—Information from U.S. Sen. Gillibrand’s Office


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