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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

Pickman, James, 2008 January 14

Biographical / Historical

James Pickman, born 1942, served as general counsel to Restoration in its early years, from 1972 to 1977. Pickman grew up in Queens County, New York and Long Island, New York; after law school, he returned to New York City. Pickman and his wife Elizabeth founded the James and Elizabeth Pickman Foundation, which they used as an outlet for philanthropic giving to Restoration in the decades after Pickman's departure from Restoration. The Pickmans were also active in the Restoration alumni association.

Scope and Contents

In this telephone interview, James Pickman describes his path to serving as Restoration's general counsel during its early years, from 1972 to 1977. Pickman provides brief biographical notes, including on his schooling and early career. He discusses the physical and political climate of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn circa 1972, remembering an area in need of physical rejuvenation, employment opportunities, entrepreneurial incubation, and the repeal of government and business policies that oppressed many of Bedford-Stuvyesant's residents – including redlining. Pickman candidly recalls a segregated and paternalistic relationship between Restoration and its early twin corporation, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Development and Services Corporation. He describes the nature of Board work at Restoration, including cultivating alliances with corporate, lending, and government institutions; and reflects on Restoration's legacy and influence on future community development corporations. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

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

  • Doar, John
  • Pickman, James
  • Thomas, Franklin A.

Subject Organizations

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Development and Services Corporation
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

Subject Topics

  • Community development corporations -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Philanthropists -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Segregation -- United States

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Politics and government