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Guide to the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral histories 2008.030

Brooklyn Historical Society
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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

Container List

Baraka, Che, 2008 January 28

Biographical / Historical

Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1953, Che Baraka left his boyhood home in Jackson, Mississippi for New York City at age eighteen. After studying at the School of Visual Arts, Baraka became an art workshop instructor at Restoration's Youth Arts Academy in Brooklyn. Baraka's decades-long association with Restoration incorporates his roles as art instructor, curator, activist, and exhibiting artist. At the time of the 2008 interview, Baraka was a well-known mixed-media artist whose paintings had been exhibited nationally.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, the artist Che Baraka recounts his childhood precocity in Jackson, Mississippi, where he became involved with the U.S. Civil Rights Movement that would later inform his work as an artist. Baraka recalls his escape from a culturally barren Jackson, Mississippi to join the arts scene of New York City, where he became situated within the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Baraka discusses his involvement with Restoration, where he worked as an arts teacher, administrator, curator, and exhibiting artist. Baraka explains his curatorial philosophy and the difficulties of financing public arts programs. He states his views on Bedford-Stuyvesant's culture circa 2008, his current arts projects; and his thoughts on Restoration's social role and legacy. Interview conducted by Peggy Alston.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to the interview is available onsite at the Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online on the Oral History Portal. Use of the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires permission from BHS by contacting

Subject Names

  • Baraka, Che
  • Gunn, Theodore
  • Inniss, Charles E.

Subject Organizations

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. Center for Art and Culture
  • Design Works of Bedford-Stuyvesant (Firm)
  • School of Visual Arts (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • African Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Art -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Civil rights movements -- United States -y 20th century
  • Education, Higher -- New York (State) -- New York

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Mississippi