Fans Organize to Save Brooklyn's "Slave Theatre"

News   Fans Organize to Save Brooklyn's "Slave Theatre" Fans of Brooklyn's Slave #1 Theatre are organizing a campaign to save the long-shuttered performing space and civil rights rallying site from being demolished and replaced with condominiums.

A group called the New Brooklyn Theater claimed to have a verbal agreement with the theatre's new owner, Fulton Halsey Holdings, to preserve the theatre space and convert the rest of the site, and two other adjacent plots, as condominiums, according to BrooklynEagle.com.

However, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that the developer has applied for a demolition permit.

Located at 1215 Fulton Street in the heart of the rapidly gentrifying African-American community of Bedford-Stuyvesant, the theatre opened as a Vaudeville house in the 1900s but was soon converted to a cinema, called the Regent Theatre.

It entered its glory days in 1982 when it was purchased, and renamed Slave #1, though it has been known to fans as the "Slave Theatre." It was used for concerts and for civil rights rallies in the 1980s. It was little used in recent years owing to its rundown condition.

The theatre was sold in March 2014 to the Fulton Halsey Development Group LLC by Samuel Boykin, administrator of the estate of the late Civil Court Judge John Phillips, who owned the building since 1984. "The battle to save the Slave is the intersection of race, class, history and property," Jeff Strabone, chair of the New Brooklyn Theatre company, told the Journal. The NBT is a local arts organization that tried unsuccessfully to buy and preserve the historic playhouse.

Protestors marched down Fulton Street to the theatre's distinctive black marquee Dec. 18 with signs reading "Save the Slave Theater."  

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