The Brooklyn Historical Society is a museum, library and educational center dedicated to encouraging the exploration and appreciation of Brooklyn's diverse peoples and cultures both past and present.
This block used to be all single-family row houses, which included the home of Simeon S. Jocelyn. Simeon came from a long line of Congregationalists that opposed slavery and is known for advocating for an African American College and his involvement in the Amistad Trial.
He started his anti-slavery work in New Haven. Here he pushed for a “Negro College,” but did not succeed. The opposition to his idea was so strong that his house was attacked by a white mob. He attended the First Annual Black Convention in Philadelphia in 1830 and moved to New York City where he continued his anti-slavery work.
He lived on this block with his wife and six children. The block also is home to the First Congregational Church, a black congregation, where Simeon was a pastor.
In 1839, a group of illegally captured African Americans on a ship bound for the Caribbean overpowered the ship's captain and killed several crew members. Eventually, the United States seized the ship and imprisoned the Africans in New Haven, Connecticut. They were not charged with the murder of their captors, but controversy over the ownership of the Africans quickly drew the attention of abolitionists. Jocelyn helped found the Amistad Committee, which provided legal and financial support to the Africans who eventually won their case in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court ordered that New Haven allow the men to return to Africa.