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NY Senator Schumer Advocates For Jackie Robinson's House

by Rebecca Lewis
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Senator Chuck Schumer outside 5224 Tilden Avenue

Rebecca Lewis, WFUV

Senator Chuck Schumer is lending his support to a push to make baseball legend Jackie Robinson's home in East Flatbush Brooklyn a city landmark.

5224 Tilden Avenue has been a national landmark for over 40 years, but that only affords the house a plaque and no protection against alteration or demolition. That's why Senator Schumer says it's time for the New York City Landmarks Commission to recognize Jackie Robinson's home as a city landmark as well.

"If there's anything in New York City that deserves to be a landmark," Schumer said at a press conference on Monday, "it is this humble home where Jackie Robinson lived when he broke the color barrier for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has refused to make the house a landmark in the past. According to their research, Robinson was not living in the house in 1947, the year he was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers, won Rookie of the Year, and the Most Valuable Player award. But Senator Schumer and other advocates such as Councilman Jumaane Williams say he was in fact living in the house at the time.

Even if it were discovered that Robinson didn't live in the house in 1947, Senator Schumer and Councilman Williams still believe that the home is historically significant. They say it is the first house in East Flatbush to be owned by an African- American family. Senator Schumer called the house "a source of civic pride" in a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

"I strongly believe that there is a continued need to address racial and ethnic bias and tensions in New York City," Councilman Williams said during the press conference, "which is why is is more important now than ever to raise up symbols like this house, not only to advance social equality, but as education establishment for youth to learn from for years to come."

The future of the house remains uncertain, but Councilman Williams says it would be "great" to one day have a museum there. 

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