Photo: Carole Gregory
A recent rally on the doorsteps of 477 W. 142 to protest the ongoing allegedly illegal eviction process of Queen Mother Delois Blakely and her disabled daughter from their home was held in Harlem. The building in question was deserted and neglected for many years.
The Housing Development Funding Corporation (HDFC) was set up by Queen Mother. With this organization, Queen Mother took an abandoned building through a homesteading action, and set up a loving residence for homeless women and children who had been living in poverty in a 42nd street subway with rats and little food. This unfairness moved Queen Mother’s heart to action.
At the rally, Queen Mother pointed to a fire hydrant. ” We had to use the water from a fire hydrant for our needs.”
Queen Mother is a Harvard, MIT, and Columbia graduate with a PhD in Education. For her humanitarian contributions to Harlem for over 50 years, Queen Mother was named “Community Mayor of Harlem.”
Supporter Sheik Musa Orammeli, a landlord, explained Queen Mother’s achievements.
“She took over the abandoned building which had no water or proper plumbing inside,” said Orammeli. “Over the years, Queen Mother made improvements in the building through many years. She stayed through the crack epidemic, violent crime, the HIV crisis, and the current COVID crisis. We support her battle to remain a home owner in this building.”
Another speaker, “Teddy” Edward Hall, testified that he had once lived in 477.
“I had lease issues, and became homeless. The judge did not care. As an Occupy Wall Street organizer, I can relate to abuse of power by the wealthy. After joining and studying Queen Mother’s work, I could see how the people who broke my lease operate in a criminal manner. Deed theft is going on. We shall work together as a unit, and become an example for the world.”
Queen Mother said, “An eviction notice has been given to me. We are in a historical district. Alexander Hamilton lived here. We are asking our ancestors to allow us to remain.”
A woman from the rally pointed to a wall mural of Billy Strayhorn playing ” Take the A – Train” which was arranged by Duke Ellington. A Black couple is happily dancing. The supporter and others clapped to recognize the significance of Queen Mother’s community vision to keep the haven for poor mothers and children.
Although former Mayor DiBlasio never answered Queen Mother’s letter, current Senator Jackson offered his complete support. He said, ” This is a good fight for justice. We shall look into the predatory nature of the people trying to take the property away. We want 477 to be sustained.”
Another supporter was Ambassador Didi Fall, a UN ambassador. She commented on Queen Mother’s personal care for her and families in this country and in Africa. She said, “Queen Mother has been fighting for this building for many years. We are also talking about human rights. This fight is also a global fight. For victory, we can let our elected officials know what injustice is going on.”
To assist Queen Mother, please support her “Go Fund Me” efforts. Please contact: http:// www.gofundme.com/f/queenmother