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

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn 11201

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

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of twenty oral history interviews (with nineteen narrators) conducted by Sarita Daftary-Steel with residents (past and present) of the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. The interviews were conducted between January 2014 and February 2015. The project was designed to capture the experiences of East New York residents who lived in the neighborhood during the period when families of color (African American, West Indian, and Puerto Rican) moved in and White families moved out, and the resulting decline of services and quality of life that followed. This process began as early as the 1950s and continued through the rest of the twentieth century. In particular, the narrators discuss race relations, school integration, housing, community organizing, the rise of crime and drug activity, and neighborhood renewal efforts. Public housing, such as the Linden Houses and Starrett City, is frequently discussed. Local schools, especially Thomas Jefferson High School and George Gershwin Junior High School, are referred to throughout the interviews. Several of the narrators (as well as Daftary-Steel) were involved with United Community Centers, a local community activist and integrationist organization, whose activities are also discussed at length. In addition to the interviews, the collection contains digital photographs of some of the narrators.