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September 22, 2007

Sad irony on Duffield

The Brooklyn Paper

Forgive us if we didn’t celebrate alongside city officials at the ceremonial co-naming of Duffield Street as “Abolitionist Place” on Thursday. We couldn’t get past the irony.

After all, Duffield Street is the same stretch of Downtown where the city plans to demolish a row of historic houses that may in fact be the area’s only link to the fabled Underground Railroad.

It is also the place where the city hired an outside consultant to whitewash the area’s history, and then accepted the report even though eight of the 12 peer-reviewers disagreed with parts of it!
But with empty symbolic gestures, real history gets forgotten. And when that happens, not only don’t we learn from past mistakes, but we start to believe that history doesn’t matter. Next thing you know, people don’t even blink when a developer, for example, insults his African-American neighbors by signing a multi-million deal to name a basketball arena after a bank that made fortunes on the slave trade, as Bruce Ratner did last year with Barclays.


Posted by amy at September 22, 2007 7:53 AM