BROOKLYN — Nostrand, Stuyvesant and Bergen are well known Brooklyn streets.
Lefferts and Boerum are included in neighborhood names And they are the names of famous New Yorkers. They were also slave holders or part of the slave trade.
“These are streets that are not only main thoroughfares in Brookyln, but they also run through predominately and historically black neighborhoods as well,” Elsa Eli Waithe said.
Waithe cofounded “Slavers of New York” with roommate Ada Reso during the pandemic.
As first reported in the New York Times, they began putting stickers up on these streets to educate fellow New Yorkers.
Maria Robles had begun a similar project when she found “Slavers of New York.” She joined them.
“We have gotten quite a few different types of reactions. I think mostly positive. Most people saying, ‘Wow, I never knew that. I had no idea,'” she said.
The group says their mission is not to change the neighborhood or street names, but to help their neighbors learn about who these people were. Slavery didn’t end in New York until 1827.
Robles said she hopes the stickers, “… really bring to light the history that has so often been ignored or not talked about enough.”
Greg Young is the co-host of the New York history podcast, “Bowery Boys.” He said New York City’s role in the slave trade is often ignored.
“At one point I believe New York City had more enslaved people than any other city in the country, except for Charleston, South Carolina,” Young said.
As of now, “Slavers of New York” has focused on Brooklyn. But they said they’ve found streets in all five boroughs.