FIGHTING FOR THE SLAVE: a photo essay


The Slave Theater on Fulton Street in Bed-Stuy is a place with a storied past and a complicated present. Started by John Phillips (a k a “The Kung-Fu Judge”) in 1984, the theater became a hotbed of black activism throughout the rest of the decade. The theater’s official operations stopped in 1998, and since Phillips’s death in 2008, there has been an ongoing fight over the property between Phillips’s estate and Clarence Hardy, a longtime friend of Phillips. The estate is trying to sell the property, while Hardy wants it to become a theater again.

Local activist named Ted (left) and Clarence Hardy (right), holding a photo of Judge John Phillips, founder of the Slave Theater (November 2011).

A man called Elect, who keeps an eye on the theater (February 2012).

Zebedee 2x, who frequents the church upstairs from the theater (November 2011).

Hardy, better known as Mr. Shabazz (November 2011).

Contributor

Jim Lafferty

JIM LAFFERTY is a photographer in Bed Stuy. For more of his work, go to jimlafferty.com.

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