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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

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Mitchell, Roderick, 2008 January 28

Biographical / Historical

Roderick "Rocky" Mitchell grew up in Yanceyville, North Carolina. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1977 and a master's degree in business administration from Columbia University in 1981. Mitchell joined Restoration as controller, then served as vice president of physical development. At thirty-two years old, Mitchell took helm of the presidency in 1988, after an era of budget cuts spearheaded by United States President Ronald Reagan left the community development corporation on the verge of insolvency. Mitchell resigned from the presidency of Restoration in 2000, after public criticism and news coverage in papers such as The New York Times. Mitchell served as president for twelve years; as of 2008 that was the longest presidential tenure in Restoration's history.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Roderick "Rocky" Mitchell provides his brief biography, and details his introduction to Restoration. Mitchell spends a portion of the interview praising and thanking colleagues, board members, and financial donors who were influential in his tenure's successes. Mitchell alleges that his presidency's great achievement was its transition from being largely government supported to being mostly independently funded. He says the era of traditional community development corporations, which survive by "government largesse" have died, and proposes the necessity that such non-profits be run with the ethos and discipline of for-profit companies. Mitchell touches on other accomplishments, including profitable ventures with Pathmark, which funded a donation to the Weeksville Heritage Center. Interview conducted by Clarence Stewart with Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

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

Subject Names

  • Mitchell, Roderick

Subject Organizations

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Development and Services Corporation
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
  • Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History

Subject Topics

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Economic conditions -y 21st century
  • Community development corporations -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Community development, Urban -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Housing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Nonprofit organi-ations -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

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