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Guide to the Sarita Daftary-Steel collection of East New York oral histories 2015.011

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Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by John Zarrillo

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 01, 2017
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Barksdale, Mary, 2014 March 28

Biographical note

Mary (Griggs) Barksdale was born in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, in 1931. Her parents were African Americans who had migrated from the southern United States to New York. She lived in the Bronx until the 1960s, when she and her husband bought a house in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. She continues to live in the Starrett City (Spring Creek) section of the neighborhood as of 2014. She was very active in community organizations, such as the United Community Centers and the Council for a Better East New York. She was also a local school board representative and president of the parent-teachers association at her son's school.

Scope and Contents

In the interview Mary Barksdale discusses her deep involvement in the issues of education and interracial collaboration in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. She relates how she arrived in East New York in the 1960s, as African American and Hispanic families moved in and White families left. Barksdale speaks in depth on her community activism, especially with United Community Centers. She was heavily involved with improving and integrating the neighborhood's schools. She also discusses her childhood and family, internal conflict at United Community Centers, her hopes for the future, and the worrying trends she sees in our current political climate. The interview was conducted by Sarita Daftary-Steel at United Community Centers in East New York.

Subject Names

  • Barksdale, Mary

Document Type

  • Oral histories (document genres)

Subject Organizations

  • Council for Better East New York
  • P.S. 158 (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • P.S. 260 (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Starrett City (Housing complex)
  • Thomas Jefferson High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Transit Tech High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • United Community Centers, Inc

Subject Topics

  • African Americans -x Education -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Busing for school integration -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community activists -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community organi-ing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Discrimination in housing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Discrimination in mortgage loans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Public schools -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Race relations -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • School integration -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • East New York (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions