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Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation calls on city to recognize African-American, LGBTQ sites as landmarks

Photo courtesy of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is calling on the city to recognize African-American & LGBT civil rights and women’s suffrage sites for landmark designation.

According to the organization, the city has been refusing to designate the nation’s oldest and largest African American and LGBT civil rights groups began anti-lynching and anti-discrimination campaigns, and where New York’s women suffrage movement was headquartered.

Among the buildings that the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is seeking landmark designation includes:

  • 70 Fifth Avenue (13th Street), where the NAACP began anti-lynching campaigns, began flying their “A Man Was Lynched Yesterday” flag, and began campaigns against discrimination against and segregation of African Americans, as well as defamatory portrayals in the media like the film ‘Birth of A Nation.’ It was also here that the related The Crisis magazine began, the first magazine ever published for a black readership, and was a hub of left-wing progressive activity and housed organizations dedicated to stopping the Armenian Genocide and leading the Women’s Peace Movement.
  • 80 Fifth Avenue (14th Street), which was the original headquarters of the National Gay Task Force (now the National LGBTQ Task Force), the first and oldest national LGBT rights organizations, from its founding in 1973 until 1985. The building also housed from 1930 to 1954 the headquarters of the International Workers Order (IWO), a mutual benefit fraternal organization which led trailblazing fights against Jim Crow and discrimination against Jews and immigrants, fighting for integration in professional sports and the workplace.
  • 55 Fifth Avenue (12th Street), which is where producer and civil rights activist John Hammond created the first integrated musical recordings. Artists such as Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith recorded here, and the building also housed The Feminine Mystique.
  • 10 East 14th Street, which served as the headquarters of the New York City Woman Suffrage League in 1894. 
  • 17 East 13th Street (Fifth Avenue/University Place), which housed the personal printing press of seminal revolutionary feminist writer Anais Nin, who personally supervised and designed the printing of her works here, which were transformative works of art as well as literature in the 1940s. 

For more information, see www.gvshp.org/research and www.villagepreservation.org/campaign/south-of-union-square

Editor’s note: An earlier version of the story included a quote from the GVSHP stating that Councilmember Rivera wasn’t supporting honoring and protecting these sites, which we have recently proven to be inaccurate. Click here to read Councilmember Rivera’s letter regarding the matter.

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