7. Spike Lee established 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks in Fort Greene
In the mid-1980s, Spike Lee established his production company 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. Spike Lee’s father Bill Lee lived in the neighborhood and rented rooms to musicians like Wes Montgomery and Wayne Shorter. The company name stems from a wartime order during the Civil War to allot land to some freed families; the land was later returned to previous owners after the order was revoked by Andrew Johnson. The company produced all of Lee’s films, beginning with She’s Gotta Have It.
Lee expanded the company to include clothing stores following the success of Do the Right Thing. The company is located at South Elliott Place and has produced over 30 films. In addition to producing films, the company established a music branch called 40 Acres and a Mule Musicworks. The company signed a partnership with Netflix in December 2021 to develop film and television projects.