Civil Rights Landmarks South of Union Square Deserve Protection

Recipients

  • Targeted recipients based on your address
  • LPC Chair Sarah Carroll
  • Governor Andrew W. Cuomo
  • Commissioner Erik Kulleseid
  • Councilmember Carlina Rivera
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio

Message

I urge you to support landmark designation for the area south of Union Square and its many civil rights landmarks

Dear [Decision Maker],

A remarkable concentration of sites connected to the civil rights movements of African Americans, LGBTQ people, and women are located in the area south of Union Square in Manhattan. They deserve recognition and protection, as they are currently vulnerable to alteration, demolition, and replacement. Village Preservation has been calling for landmark designation of this area and these sites for many years, and many elected officials, civil rights groups, academics, scholars, historians, and preservationists have supported that call. I urge you to do the same.

The area south of Union Square is where the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization was headquartered and waged critical battles against lynching, segregation, voter disenfranchisement, racial terrorism and violence, and hateful representations in the media, such as "Birth of A Nation." It's where the first and oldest magazine was ever produced for African Americans, "The Crisis," which helped launch the Harlem Renaissance and has been a major voice in the civil rights struggle for over a century. It's where Billie Holiday and many other jazz greats made their first recordings, and where many of the first integrated musical recordings were made. It's where great strides were made in ending Jim Crow segregation in employment and professional sports. It's where "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" was published, where great civil rights and cultural figures like James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes and Paul Robeson gathered and organized, and where the "A Man Was Lynched Yesterday" flag was first flown. On top of all of that, critical battles in the fight for LGBTQ rights and women's rights and suffrage were waged and led here, from the publication of "The Feminine Mystique" to the battle to extend the vote to women in New York State, and from ending anti-gay discrimination in the federal workforce to removing homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses. It's where Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in America, lived and practiced medicine for the first time, changing the role of women in society and public health.

The call to recognize and landmark these sites and this area which nurtured them has been ongoing for several years now. Support for the effort has grown in all corners, but government officials who need to act to officially recognize and protect these sites have so far failed to do so. I strongly urge you to finally support this effort and ensure that these sites and this area is recognized and its great civil rights landmarks are honored and protected before more are lost.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]

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