Plaque Unveiled at 70 Fifth Avenue Honoring Civil Rights History: Video and Photos

We were joined on Tuesday by The New School, Councilmember Erik Bottcher, an array of luminary speakers, and scores of New Yorkers for the unveiling of our 20th plaque at 70 Fifth Avenue, the former headquarters of the NAACP. This extraordinary building served in the early 20th century as an unparalleled center for social activism, also housing The Crisis Magazine, the National Civil Liberties Bureau (which became the American Civil Liberties Union), the Citizen’s National Committee for Sacco-Vanzetti, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Friends of Spanish Democracy, the League for the Abolition of Capital Punishment, the Women’s Peace Party, the League for Industrial Democracy, and the Near East Foundation, which was founded to combat the Armenian Genocide. Read more about the building’s extraordinary history HERE.

No. 70 Fifth Avenue is located within Village Preservation’s proposed South of Union Square Historic District, for which we are seeking landmark protections. In 2021, Village Preservation secured individual landmark designation of 70 Fifth Avenue, and soon after secured a determination from the state that the district was eligible for the State and National Register of Historic Places. This plaque unveiling is part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness of the exceptionally significant history of this endangered area South of Union Square, especially as it relates to civil rights, social justice, and artistic and literary history, as embodied by this building.

Village Preservation’s plaque program educates the public about the rich and diverse history of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo. Our plaques have honored figures from James Baldwin to Jane Jacobs; Lorraine Hansberry to LeRoi Jones; Anaïs Nin to Alex Haley; painter Jean-Michel Basquiat to “Picasso of Dance” Martha Graham (next door to 70 Fifth at 64-66 Fifth Avenue, another New School building), and many more. Explore all our plaques HERE.

May 13, 2022