Four-o-nine Edgecombe Avenue is 555 Edgecombe’s sister building. Schwartz & Gross  served as architect for both dwellings. The building is also known as the Colonial Parkway Apartments, and was designated a New York City landmark in 1993. Throughout the history of the African-American presence at 409, the building was a socioeconomic mix, with everyone from attorneys and physicians, living side by side with porters and beauticians, as well as those who engaged in criminal activities for a living.

Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Associate Justice may well be one of the most famous residents, but there were many prominent individuals who resided there.

Some of 409’s Previous Residents

William Stanley Brathwaite, poet; literary critic; editor
Eunice Carter, first African American woman district attorney, New York City
Elizabeth Catlett, internationally renowned visual artist
Mae Edward Chinn, MD, first African American woman graduate, Bellevue Hospital Medical School; pianist for Paul Robeson
Marvel Cooke, assistant to W.E. B. Du Bois; journalist; national legal defense secretary, Angela Davis Defense Committee
Shirley Graham Du Bois, musicologist; playwright; activist; wife of W.E.B. Du Bois
W.E.B. Du Bois, sociologist; playwright; activist; husband of Shirley Graham Du Bois
Safiya Henderson-Holmes, poet; activist
James Weldon Johnson, attorney; novelist; poet; playwright; lyricist; NAACP national secretary; diplomat
Jimmie Lunceford, musician
Louise Thompson-Patterson, organizer of Vanguard, an influential literary salon; activist; wife of William Patterson
William Patterson, attorney; activist; husband of Louise Thompson-Patterson
Stephanie St. Clair, “numbers” racket genius; Dutch Schultz’s arch nemesis
Maudelle Bass Weston, dancer, artist model for Diego Rivera, Mark Rothko; and others
Walter White, NAACP national secretary
Roy Wilkins, NAACP national secretary
Bruce Wright, jurist