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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

Shipp, James, 2008 January 11

Biographical / Historical

James E. Shipp (born 1941) grew up in Illinois, where he attended high school and graduated with a bachelor's degree from Western Illinois University in 1964. He earned a master's degree in city and regional planning from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and a master's degree in urban studies from Occidental College. After his studies, Shipp worked as a youth gang counselor in Chicago's juvenile justice system, where he developed an interest in community economic development as a way to fight juvenile delinquency. Shipp's involvement in a Ford Foundation-funded training program led to a mentorship under Franklin Thomas, and eventually to his role with Restoration in Brooklyn. Shipp served as Restoration's first vice president, from its inception in 1969 through 1979. After leaving Restoration, Shipp served as the chief executive officer of Cummins Metropower, the distribution and service arm of Cummins Engine Company, a manufacturer of diesel engines.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, James E. Shipp provides a short biography of his professional career, beginning with his time as a youth gang counselor in Chicago's juvenile justice system. He describes the realization that juvenile delinquency is caused by dysfunctional community systems, and his determination to build healthier urban communities. Shipp details his path to Restoration; laying out Restoration's essential role and functions. Shipp details Restoration's evolution as an institution, lists its successes in human and capital investment, and advocates for the confinement of its activities to housing renovation and commercial development. At the interview's end, Shipp reflects on Restoration's legacy and major successes, and gives an optimistic prognosis of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn's economic future. Interview conducted by Judith Anglin.

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

  • Shipp, James E.
  • Thomas, Franklin A.

Subject Organizations

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

Subject Topics

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Economic conditions -y 21st century
  • Community development corporations -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Discrimination in mortgage loans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Economic development -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Mortgages -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

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