Judge John L. Phillips. Photo via the Slave Theater website

For many people in Bedford Stuyvesant, home to Brooklyn’s largest African American community, Fulton Street’s Slave Theater is not just a building — it’s a metaphor.

The name has always been uncomfortable. Who wants to be reminded of slavery? Who wants to be reminded of slavery when going to the movies, of all times?

That’s just why Judge John L. Phillips chose the name.


480 Nostrand Avenue, Renaissance Apartments

Preservationists and neighborhood residents are “overjoyed” and “thrilled” the Landmarks Preservation Commission finally approved the Bedford Historic District Tuesday, they told Brownstoner.

Long in the works, the district contains some of the neighborhood’s most significant architecture. Its preservation comes just as developers are transforming Bedford Stuyvesant with small and medium-size apartment buildings.


Photo by Brownstoner reader Augustiner

The new owners of Bed Stuy’s iconic Slave Theater filed permits on Wednesday to demolish the once-vibrant hub of civil rights activism.

Spurred into action at the prospect of demolition, 81-year-old Clarence Hardy — a former caretaker of the space who claims to be its rightful owner — climbed atop the Slave’s marquee on Friday and threatened to jump if the theater wasn’t saved.