Last night, our under-publicized borough was proudly represented on the national stage, when Congresswoman Yvette Clark, who represents the 11th Congressional District of New York, visited The Colbert Report.
Those hoping this would help Brooklyn finally get a little respect and recognition in the press will have to keep waiting, unfortunately.
You see, Clark made the unexpected claim that slavery continued in Brooklyn all the way until 1898, at the hands of those ruthless, conniving Dutch.
It went down like this: Colbert referred to the old saying that Brooklyn’s decision to become a part of New York City was “The Great Mistake of 1898,” which we can all agree is still a sick, sick burn all these years later. Anyway, Colbert then asked Clark what she’d say to members of her district back then, to which the Congresswoman responded, “Set me free!” It unravelled from there:
Colbert: Slavery. Really? I didn’t realize there was slavery in Brooklyn in 1898.
Clark: I’m pretty sure there was.
Colbert: It sounds like a horrible part of the United States that kept slavery going until 1898. Who would be enslaving you in 1898 in New York?
Clark: The Dutch.
Colbert: Those sneaky Dutch bastards!
In case clarification is needed here, Clark’s envisioned state of affairs takes place 33 years after slavery became illegal, and over 200 years after the Dutch lost power around these parts. So, oops. Granted, Clark is no stranger to fabricating even the most easily fact checked data, but still, this feels… egregious. I might go lie down for a little bit and try not to think too hard about this.
See below for video of the incident — things start to get weird around the 3:00 mark.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.