Crown Heights

Crown Heights North Historic District placed on National Register of Historic Places

Location to Include Site of Late U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm’s Residence

May 18, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm. AP photo/Finley
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U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke announced Wednesday that the Crown Heights North Historic District was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Earlier this year, Gillibrand and Clarke requested to extend the original boundary in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood previously 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 Crown Heights District was first added to the National Register in 2014, and 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. “This designation to the National Register is a fitting tribute to her legacy and the community she proudly represented. I pushed for this designation because of the deep passion and affection the late congresswoman felt for the community she fought for every day of her life.”

“The inclusion of the Crown Heights North Historic Designation on the National Register of Historic Places is welcome news,” stated Clarke (NY-09). This neighborhood’s rich cultural tradition and historical significance truly deserves national recognition.

“As the home for the late Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm, this designation has even greater importance due to her prominent role as a public servant and as a fighter for greater justice, equity and fairness on behalf of minority and marginalized communities not only in our city, but also in our nation,” Clarke continued.  

In April, Gillibrand and Clarke wrote to the National Park Service explaining that this designation would add an area of architectural, cultural and historical significance to the Crown Heights Historic District. The northern area of Crown Heights is most associated with Chisholm, the nation’s first African-American woman elected to Congress, but also includes the homes of other civil rights leaders and pioneers of social change.

“Expanding the boundaries of Crown Heights’ historic district will help the community and honor the legacy of the late Shirley Chisholm — a barrier-breaker if there ever was one — who was the first African-American woman elected to Congress and the first woman ever to run for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination,” said U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer. “Shirley Chisholm was a warrior for working people, a proud daughter of Brooklyn, a pioneer of her time and will forever be a role model for women and young people of all backgrounds; now that this designation encompasses Chisholm’s former homes in Crown Heights, the neighborhood’s rich history will be preserved for generations to come.”  

Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “I’m proud to see the Crown Heights North Historic District added to the National Register of Historic Places, especially given the immense contributions and significance of Shirley Chisholm to this city. She was an incredible leader, lawmaker and role model to all. This neighborhood and Shirley’s former residences deserve this honor and protection for their legacy and role in the history of New York City.”

Chisholm served 14 years in Congress, sponsoring more 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. 

“On behalf of the Crown Heights North Association (CHNA), I’d like to thank Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clark for their untiring efforts to expand the Crown Heights North Historic District, as mapped in the State and National Registers of Historic Places,” said Deborah L. Young, chairperson and president of the CHNA.

“This latest addition to the Crown Heights North Historic District now protects and celebrates several of the homes once owned or lived in by the great Shirley Chisholm … a 2015 Posthumous Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Young continued. “As the child of West Indian immigrants, Congresswoman Chisholm was dedicated to racial and social equality and the achievement of the American Dream. The people of Crown Heights North continue to strive to make and keep this Brooklyn neighborhood a place where those dreams can come true. We are proud to live in such a storied, and inspiring neighborhood.” 

The district is also 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.


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