The Comedy Central faux news TV show's host, Stephen Colbert, inadvertently ensnarled Clarke in a historical faux pas during an interview in her Washington office that aired Tuesday night.
During an exchange about Brooklynites having voted in 1898 to become part of New York City -- which Colbert quipped was tagged "the Great Mistake of 1898" -- the host asked Clarke what she would tell the people of Brooklyn if she could use a time machine to go back to that period.
Clarke, an African-American in her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, responded with a perky "I would say to them: Set me free!"
"From?" Colbert asked.
"Slavery," she replied.
"I didn't realize there was slavery in Brooklyn in 1898," Colbert said.
"Well, I'm pretty sure there was," Clarke said.
"That sounds like a horrible part of the United States that kept slavery going until 1898," Colbert said. "Who would be enslaving you in 1898 in New York?"
"The Dutch," Clarke said.
"Those sneaky Dutch bastards," Colbert rejoined.
"Exactly," Clarke said.
Clarke's official Web site still had a link to the "Colbert Report" clips as of Wednesday evening.
For the record, slavery ended in the state of New York in 1827 and the 13th Amendment outlawed slavery nationwide in 1865 after the Civil War. The Dutch lost their hold in New York in the 17th century.