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Guide to the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral histories 2008.030

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Brett Dion and Maria Santiago

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 22, 2017
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Historical note

History of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, excerpted from their website: In 1964, with the cooperation of Senator Jacob K. Javits and Mayor John W. Lindsay, Senator Robert F. Kennedy set into motion a round of legislative action that created the Special Impact Program, an amendment to the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. He announced a seven point action plan that would serve as a national model for community development. The plan called for the formation of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Renewal and Rehabilitation Corporation and the Development Services Corporation in Brooklyn, New York, involving assistance from some of the foremost leaders of the American business community.

Under the leadership of Judge Thomas R. Jones, in 1967 the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration) was formally established to consolidate and carry forward these efforts. One year later, Restoration purchased an abandoned milk bottling plant in the heart of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, Sheffield Farms, to serve as its new corporate headquarters. Renovations soon began to create what became the community center Restoration Plaza. Since 1967, Restoration has catalyzed enormous economic, cultural, and educational improvements in Central Brooklyn.*

Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral history at Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS): BHS and Restoration partnered on the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral history project in 2007-2008 to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Restoration's founding as the first community development corporation (CDC) in the United States. Nearly sixty interviews were conducted with founding Board members, supporters, activists, artists, tenants, and other community members. Audio clips from these oral history interviews were included in the exhibition  Reflections on Community Development: Stories from Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (BHS 2008, Restoration 2009). The exhibition provided a local and national narrative of the rise and importance of CDCs from their inception during the late 1960s to four decades later, using Restoration as a case study.

*"History." Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration.