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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

Vann, Albert, 2008 April 22

Biographical / Historical

Albert Vann was born in 1934 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. At age eighteen, Vann joined the United States Marine Corps, eventually rising to the rank of sergeant. After leaving the military, Vann earned bachelor's and Toledo master's degrees in the field of education. Originally an educator, Vann's career has included service as both teacher and administrator in Brooklyn public schools, and founding of the African American Teachers Association. At the time of the 2008 interview, Vann was a member of the New York City Council, representing the 36th Council District (which includes parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant), and was a thirty-year Assemblyman of the New York City Council. A Democrat, Vann catalyzed two major court cases which helped to expand minority representation in New York government. He was also one of the founders of the City University of New York's Medgar Evers College.

Scope and Contents

In this second of two interviews, Albert Vann recounts the 1960s-era Civil Rights Movement and his decision to found the Negro Teachers Association (now the African American Teachers Association). Vann remembers the founding of Restoration. He notes the institution's legacy programming; housing, social outreach, education, jobs training, and physical development services. Vann describes the 2008-era Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn as so entrenched in income inequality that it is almost "like two cities," and remarks on the difficulties of presiding over an area of distinct income inequality. Vann lists female political leaders who've influenced his life, details his start in politics, describes his electoral base, and comments on his first few years in elected office. At the interview's end, Vann provides some insight into his family's background and remarks on his personal life. 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

  • Richardson, Elsie
  • Vann, Albert

Subject Organizations

  • African-American Teachers Association
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
  • Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • New York (State). Legislature

Subject Topics

  • Civil rights movements -- United States -y 20th century
  • Community organi-ing -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Politics and government
  • New York (N.Y.) |x Social conditions
  • United States |x History