Help Us Save an Abolitionist Landmark, 50 West 13th Street

You can do more to mark Juneteenth. Village Preservation has been waging a campaign to seek landmark status for 50 West 13th Street, an endangered 1846 house known to many as the longtime home of the beloved 13th Street Repertory Theatre. But Village Preservation’s research also revealed that in the 19th century the house was owned and occupied by Jacob Day, one of the city’s leading African American businesspeople and a prominent advocate for abolition, voting rights for African Americans, and civil rights. Day was a prominent member of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, a leading force in the fight for abolition and in the Underground Railroad. That and Day’s other connections to prominent Underground Railroad supporters have led historians to believe that Day also likely used his considerable resources to assist the Underground Railroad, possibly (and according to local lore) including this house.

We have been campaigning to get Mayor Adams and the Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider this recently sold and endangered house for landmark designation, but so far they have refused. Now is the perfect time to remind them of the need to honor and protect this abolitionist and civil rights history:

June 17, 2022