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Guide to the Listen to This: Crown Heights Oral History collection 2010.020

Brooklyn Historical Society
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Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Brett Dion

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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Louis, Marie, 2010 April 28

Biographical / Historical

The daughter to Haitian immigrants, Marie Louis was born at Kings County Hospital in 1972 and was raised on Carroll Street in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Louis attended P.S. 241 and Holy Spirit Catholic School, then known as St. Theresa's. She entered a medical professions program in high school and graduated from A. Philip Randolph High in Harlem. Louis was an event organizer and president of the Black Students Organization during her time at Columbia University. She grew up attending church at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church and then, as an adult, St. Gregory's. In 1995, she worked for the Youth Development Institute, and in 1998, the Community Counseling & Mediation program. She served on the board that attained a Community Benefits Agreement in relation to the Atlantic Yards Project and then joined Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD). Later, she became Chief Operating Officer of the organization. She married in 2007. After a six-month battle with cancer, she died in December, 2011. Among her survivors are her husband, five siblings and a son and daughter.

Scope and Contents

Marie Louis weaves her biographical details into her recollection of growing up in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood and her parents' emigrating from Haiti before her birth. She references her churches, schools, other local resources and a favorite bowling alley. Louis speaks of the sense of security and safety as a teenager and the diverse ethnicities and occasional tensions in the neighborhood. She describes her involvement in Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD), related to the Atlantic Yards Project and Crown Heights. Louis talks about being a community advocate and advises high school students on the importance of being inquisitive. Interview conducted by Ansie Montilus, Floyya Richardson, and Alex Kelly.

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 the permission of BHS. For assistance, contact

Subject Names

  • Louis, Marie

Subject Organizations

  • Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Prospect Heights School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Saint Gregory's Roman Catholic Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • African American neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Barclays Center (New York, N.Y.)
  • Community activists -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community development -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Crime -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Drug traffic -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Education -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Ethnic neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Haitian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Mayors -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Multiculturalism
  • Schools -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Social justice -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Urban renewal -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Economic conditions
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Religious life and customs
  • Carroll Street (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  • Crown Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Eastern Parkway (New York, N.Y.)
  • Franklin Avenue (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  • Haiti
  • Prospect Heights (New York, N.Y.)