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

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
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

Container List

Lumumba, Tonde, 2010 March 22

Biographical / Historical

Tonde Lumumba was born in St. Vincent in the West Indies in 1961. One of four children, he was raised by his father until he was asked to leave. He followed his mother's path and immigrated to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights at age sixteen. As an adult, Lumumba has lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, where he resided with his wife, three daughters and one son as of 2010. Lumumba owned and operated Imhotep's Health and Living Foods on Nostrand Avenue. Laying claim to being the oldest vegan restaurant in Brooklyn, the store was closed by 2013.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Tonde Lumumba observes the demographic change in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights, noting the arrival of more people of European ancestry. He discusses African art displayed in his store. Lumumba recalls the drug problem in the community during the late 1970s. He discusses his adult life in Brooklyn; moving from Bedford-Stuyvesant to Crown Heights and schools his four children have attended. Lumumba focuses on the history of his health food store and his own emergence as a health conscious eater and vegan. He briefly acknowledges the cultures with traditions in Crown Heights, particularly the West Indian celebration on Labor Day. Lumumba reflects on his arrival to Prospect Heights as an immigrant and his upbringing by a stern father in St. Vincent. He cites famous role models he has emulated, particularly as an activist and protester, and brings that modeling into how he lives positively in his community, even criticizing the lack of messaging in the West Indian Carnival. Interview conducted by Monica Parfait, Treverlyn Dehaarte, Quanaisha Phillips, Floyya Richardson, Ansie Montilus, 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

  • Lumumba, Tonde

Subject Organizations

  • West Indian American Day Carnival Parade (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • African American neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Blacks -- Race identity
  • Caribbean Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Caribbean Americans -- New York (State) -- New York -x Social life and customs
  • Carnival -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Crime -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Ethnic neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Immigrants -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Multiculturalism
  • Parades -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Rastafarians -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Vegetarianism
  • West Indian Americans

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Economic conditions |y 20th century
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions |y 20th century
  • Crown Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • United States |x Emigration and immigration