Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Brownstone Purchase LLC Tells of Escaped Slaves’ Brave Journey

Posted On Mon, May 9, 2016 By

Posted On Mon, May 9, 2016 By In Celebrities, History, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens

Atlantic Writer, National Book Award winner and MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient Ta-Nehisi Coates recently made an appearance in real estate news; Coates, who is among today’s most prominent writers on African-American issues, and his wife recently purchased a landmarked five-bedroom townhouse in Prospect-Lefferts Garden for $2.1 million. Not one to miss an opportunity to explore a facet of cultural history, the couple worked an interesting story into the LLC they used to purchase the property, DNAinfo tells us.

Buyers commonly register Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) to purchase property in order to conceal their identities (celebrities, for example, or when making a big-ticket buy), and LLC names are often mundane, using the name of the property itself. But the Coateses LLC, “Ellen and William Craft Excursions LLC” has an inspiring tale behind it: The Crafts were an escaped slave couple from Georgia in the 19th century. Disguised as a white male slave owner and his slave, they escaped to Philadelphia in 1868.

coates deed 1

Ellen Craft, the daughter of her (white) owner, traveled in disguise as a man. Despite a few close calls involving border patrol agents on the lookout for escaped slaves–she managed to pass (as white) and pass muster as male. The Crafts made it to Philadelphia and freedom on Christmas of that year, and sought help from the city’s abolitionist network; they fled to England after Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which allowed slave hunters to return escaped slaves to their masters, in 1850. They returned after the Civil War and went on to open a school and farm for free slaves near Savannah, GA. The pair penned a book, “Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom,” in 1860.

As far as LLCs go, it’s fitting that Coates would choose a name that reflects his extensive knowledge and cultural contributions on African-American life and history. His bestselling second book, “Between the World and Me,” on the realities of being black and American was released in 2015. The memoir was written as a letter to the author’s teenage son and won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

207 lincoln road kitchen

207 lincoln road parlor

[Via DNAinfo]

[Listing: 207 Lincoln Road by Keith Mack and Sylvia Dimova for Corcoran Group.]


Images courtesy of Corcoran Group.


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Neighborhoods : Prospect-Lefferts Gardens



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