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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

Richardson, Elsie, 2008 January 22

Biographical / Historical

Elsie Richardson was born in Manhattan in 1922 and grew up in the East Harlem neighborhood known as "El Barrio." Richardson moved to Brooklyn in 1946, around the time of her wedding, and lived with her family in the Albany Projects before settling in a long-term home on Prospect Place. A public school secretary by day, Richardson was otherwise an engaged community leader who co-founded the Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council (CBCC) and was essential in the creation of the nation's first non-profit community development corporation, Restoration. In February 1966, Richardson led Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Jacob Javits on the famous tour of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, which resulted in the formation of Restoration. Richardson held a bachelor's degree from Pratt Institute and a master's degree from the New School for Social Research. She had three children. Elsie Richardson died in Brooklyn in 2012.

Scope and Contents

In part one of the interview, Elsie Richardson discusses the founding of the Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council (CBCC) in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. She recalls the 1966 walking tour of Bedford-Stuyvesant with Senators Kennedy and Javits, a key event in the formation of Restoration. She remembers Restoration's early years, including the initial cleavage between Restoration and the Bedford-Stuyvesant Development and Services Corporation. Richardson reminisces about the archaeological discovery of the town of Weeksville, a post-slavery African American settlement in Brooklyn. She offers thoughts on today's school system and youth culture, as well as life in Brooklyn circa the 1960s. Richardson's granddaughter and great grandson join the conversation in later moments. The last few minutes comprise part two, conducted via telephone. Richardson shares behind-the-scenes classism and sexism at the time of Restoration's founding. Interview conducted by Deborah Jones 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

  • Kennedy, Robert F.
  • Richardson, Elsie
  • Rose, Lucille
  • Thomas, Franklin A.

Subject Organizations

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Development and Services Corporation
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
  • Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History

Subject Topics

  • African Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Civil rights movements -- United States -y 20th century
  • Community centers -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Urban renewal -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

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