Colored School No. 4 at 128 West 17th Street Gets Landmark Hearing Next Tuesday

In 2021, Village Preservation became an early supporter of a campaign spearheaded by historian Eric Washington to seek landmark designation for the rare surviving Colored School No. 4 building at 128 West 17th Street in Chelsea. Though just outside the bounds of our neighborhoods, Village Preservation supported this effort both because of the exceptional citywide significance of this site and because of its connections to our neighborhood, where earlier “Colored Schools” were located in the 19th century and where significant figures connected to the institution lived. This remnant of our city’s early segregated educational system is both an important reminder of the institutionalized racial discrimination in our city and a testament to those who went to and helped build these learning facilities, which were deeply invested in advancing African American education and opportunity.

After deciding this past February to finally consider Colored School No. 4 for landmark designation, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission will be holding a hearing on the proposal this Tuesday (time TBD). It’s an important opportunity to encourage the commission to move ahead with designation of this uniquely important site, as well as to act upon other long-ignored African American and other civil rights-related historic sites in our neighborhoods and throughout New York City also still crying out for recognition and protection. See coverage on Channel 7 news here and in Gothamist here

April 19, 2023