Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

Representing the 9th District of New York

Congresswoman Clarke Urges Designation Prison Ship Martyrs Monument as a National Monument

Apr 29, 2014
Press Release

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke announced the House of Representatives has passed the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument Preservation Act, which directs the Secretary of the Interior to study the designation of the monument in Fort Greene Park as a National Monument. The bill, H.R. 1501,was passed on a voice vote.

During the Revolutionary War, the British maintained approximately sixteen prison ships in the New York Harbor to hold prisoners of war as a result of insufficient space on land. The terrible conditions on the ships resulted in thousands of deaths. The monument – which opened in 1908 – holds the remains of 11,500 American soldiers who died in the war.

“This monument commemorates not only the sacrifices of soldiers in the Revolutionary War who dedicated themselves to the cause of liberty, but a reminder than even in wartime we must protect basic human rights. These thousands of deaths were an atrocity that should never occur again,” said Congresswoman Clarke, a co-sponsor of the bill. “The designation  of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument as a National Monument would increase awareness of this attraction, both for people here in Brooklyn and around the world.”

H.R. 1501 would require the study to include: (1) an analysis of operational issues that should be considered if the Monument were to be designated as an NPS unit; (2) an analysis of the feasibility of administering the Monument, considering its size, configuration, and other factors including an annual cost estimate; (3) an analysis of the economic, educational, and other impacts of the designation of the Monument as an NPS unit; (4) an analysis of the effect of such designation on existing commercial and recreational activities, and on the authorization, construction, operation, maintenance, or improvement of energy production and transmission infrastructure, and the authority of state and local governments to manage those activities; and (5) an identification of any authorities, including condemnation, that will compel or permit the Secretary to influence or participate in local land use decisions (such as zoning) or place restrictions on non-federal lands if the Monument is designated as an NPS unit. Requires, upon commencement of the study, owners of private property in or adjacent to the Monument to be notified of the study's commencement and scope.

Read full text of H.R. 1501, the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument Preservation Act HERE.