Mary Ward: The Face of the 82-Year-Old Woman Fighting Eviction in Bed Stuy (PHOTOS)


Photography by Michael Premo

On Friday, August 19, 82-year-old Bed-Stuy resident Mary Ward faced eviction from her home of 44 years in a foreclosure proceeding. Her neighbors and activists from around the city created a human shield to discourage marshalls from getting to her. As a result, there are ongoing negotiations happening this weekend between Ward and the entity foreclosing on her to try to keep her in her home. At least through Monday, the marshall is not scheduled to appear. Here is the story of Friday’s action in pictures by photojournalist Michael Premo.

Ms. Ward addressing her supporters from her porch. “My grandfather was a slave but I am not a slave,” Ward said.

Members of FUREE lead chants outside Ward’s home.

Lawyer Karen Gargamelli (right, holding the child) of the firm Common Law was representing Ms. Ward and acting as ringmaster on Friday.

Lawyer Karen Gargamelli addresses the crowd.

A supporter gives it up for Ms. Ward.

The crowd was made of Ms. Ward’s Bed Stuy neighbors, housing advocates from around the city, and media outlets from around the globe.

Activists were prepared to be arrested to use non-violent civil disobedience to block Ms. Ward’s eviction.

Ms. Ward’s supporters handed flyers out to passing cars asking them to honk their support. Many cars, trucks, and even most MTA busses did so.

Young and old, black and white, long time residents and gentrifiers came out to support Ms. Ward

A crush of media descended to hear directly from Ms. Ward.

Gargamelli, Ward, and a member of Congressman Ed Towns’ staff.

Supporters wait to hear from Ms. Ward.

Ms. Ward speaking at the crowd’s height

A supporter asking a passing driver to honk

The NYPD was nearby, but did not interfere in the protestor’s activities.

Ms. Ward addressing the media.

A young supporter speaks up for Ms. Ward.

Inside of her home, Ms. Ward speaks to a minister.

Articles of Ms. Ward’s family and faith.

Press clippings of Ms. Ward’s journey before Friday’s events.

One of Ms. Ward’s “Jehovah’s Sisters.”

An enthusiastic supporter getting drivers to honk.

Ms. Ward and her supporters won the day and kept her in her home at least through the weekend. What happens after Monday is still very much in doubt.

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