Clarke: Save Duffield Houses

Rep. Yvette Clarke has thrown her support behind the owners of several Downtown Brooklyn houses who claim their buildings were once part of the Underground Railroad.

Clarke (D–Park Slope) sent a letter to her former colleagues on the City Council to demand the preservation of the “historic” houses on Duffield Street.

“Preserving the homes … is simply the right thing to do,” Clarke added.

The city wants to tear the houses down to make way for a parking garage. Last month, the Economic Development Corporation released a hotly contested report concluding that there was no proof that Abolitionist activity had gone on in the homes.

But the homeowners and many Downtown Brooklyn historians have accused the city of deliberately ignoring links between the homes and the Underground Railroad.

This is the second time since her promotion to Congress that Clarke has made news tackling the legacy of slavery. In February, Clarke — a supporter of Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project — threatened to call Congressional hearings to investigate Ratner’s naming-rights deal with the British Barclays Bank, which has repeatedly been linked to the slave trade.