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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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Rice, Wendell, 2007 August 31

Biographical / Historical

Wendell Rice was born in 1943 in Conway, South Carolina, and moved to Brooklyn, New York City after graduating high school in 1961. While Rice's initial ambition was to operate bulldozers, he was stymied by racial discrimination. After a number of odd jobs led to disappointment and Rice was the victim of an armed robbery, he became involved with Restoration's community organizer training program. Rice's career was spent with Restoration, and he saw many of its hallmark programs come to fruition, including rezoned superblocks, programs in youth enrichment, and the Weatherization Assistance Program of which Rice served as director. Rice holds a bachelor's degree in sociology and political science from Brooklyn College. He has two adult children.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Wendell Rice describes his early career, including experiences with racial discrimination within city employment in the 1960s; and his path to employment with Restoration. He recalls prime moments in his career as a community organizer, including his essential involvement with the superblocks program to rezone urban residential streets. He details work as a youth organizer, including the removal of heroin addicts from neighborhood streets, and the education of children at risk of gang affiliation. Near the interview's end, Rice explains the Weatherization Assistance Program, including its mission, customers, day-to-day operations, and technology-centric future. Interview conducted by Brian Purnell.

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

  • Inniss, Charles E.
  • Keller, Thomas B.
  • Rice, Wendell
  • Thomas, Franklin A.

Subject Organizations

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

Subject Topics

  • African Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community development corporations -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Community development, Urban -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Economic development -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Housing -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

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