The Museum of American Finance accepts a cultural icon of the Occupy Movement: Housing is a Human Right

March 12, 2012New York CityOccupy Museums- Occupy Wall Street

The Museum of American Finance accepts a cultural icon of the Occupy Movement: Housing is a Human Right

Occupy Museums and Occupy 477 presented a model of a Harlem house slated for foreclosure to the Museum of American Finance (MoAF) on December 6th, the National Day Against Foreclosure.  The Museum, located on Wall Street just a block from the Stock Exchange,  initially turned down the gift by closing their gates to the groups, yet after a respectful correspondence, the MoAF Collections Committee decided to accept the donation.

Occupy Museums and Occupy 477 believe that the MoAF is an ideal home for an artifact that evokes how everyday citizens, and particularly low-income communities and communities of color, are being affected by current financial issues including the recession, rampant foreclosure, and predatory lending. The model of 477 tells a local story of American Finance.*

On March 14th, the Occupy groups will deliver the model of 477 W. 142nd Street to the Museum to become part of its permanent collection. The model will journey from the steps of the New York State Supreme Courthouse on 60 Center street, where the occupants of 477 will be fighting predatory lenders for their right to stay in their home, and marched to the Museum of American Fiance on Wall Street. On its journey the model will be used as a ballot box. People will be able to vote on whether adequate housing is a human right, and whether adequate housing ought to be an election issue. The procession will start at the courthouse at approximately 11am and arrive at the MoAF at 11:30. Everyone is welcome to join the procession and vote. 

Through its involvement in the National Day Against Foreclosure, its origin in the homes and histories of Harlem, its collaborative creation between members of OWS and residents outside of the movement, its use as a ballot box, and its final journey from the courthouse, the model of 477 W. 142nd Street serves as a visual symbol of the struggle for economic justice, and the lives and voices of everyday people in an economic system that has systematically disenfranchised them.  The acceptance of this artifact into the financial canon is an important step.  The institutions who curate our common narrative must recognize the plight of the 99% who have lost jobs, homes and futures. Our cultural institutions must be part of building a more hopeful future for everyone.  More information on the Actions of December 6th here:

Max Liboiron & Noah Fischer, occupymuseums [at], Occupy Museums
QueenMother Dr. Delois Blakely queenmothernews [at], Occupy 477* The building at 477 W. 142nd Street and the Museum of American Finance share a historical bond. 477 W. 142nd Street is on Alexander Hamilton’s grange in Harlem, and the Museum of American finance is housed in the former headquarters of the Bank of New York, founded by Alexander Hamilton. Moreover, one of the occupants of 477, QueenMother Dr. Delois Blakely, claims Alexander Hamilton as her ancestor and believes that he would support housing as a human right.