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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

Oden, Eunice, 2010 April 21

Biographical / Historical

In 1942, Eunice Oden was born in North Carolina, where she grew up on a farm. At age eighteen, she arrived in New York City and shared an apartment with her sister. Her early years in Brooklyn were in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, but she has lived in Crown Heights since January, 1969. She raised her son in those neighborhoods until his high school graduation in 1978. Initially, she worked in clothing factories and then held several jobs at a hospital for thirty-three years. She later worked for nursing homes and retired in 2007. Oden was a community activist, first taking note of prejudice in Brooklyn real estate and then being a Coordinator for Safety and Security at the 77th Precinct Executive Board. At the time of the interview in 2010, she was the president of her apartment building's tenant association.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Eunice Oden makes many observations about the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights where she has lived for four decades; including changes to parking and street traffic, intolerant real estate practices, abandoned buildings and shuttered businesses, the public's use of the Brooklyn Children's Museum and the Brower Park Library, the police behavior and presence from the 1990s to 2010, and the demographic shift of the neighborhood. She relates her experience of raising a son, with discipline and safety lessons, and looks at the larger picture of parenting, drugs, money, and influences on children. Oden recalls her experience as a child in North Carolina and contrasts the prevalent, overt racism there with the subversive racism in Brooklyn. She shares stories of at-risk youth running from police and an encounter with a rude salesperson at a store. Her interviewers prompt her to address civility between different generations on the streets and how a young person dealing with a stranger has changed over the years. Interview conducted by Treverlyn Dehaarte 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

  • Oden, Eunice

Subject Organizations

  • New York (N.Y.). Police Department

Subject Topics

  • African American neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community activists -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Courtesy -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Discrimination in housing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Drug traffic -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Education -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Hospitals -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Nursing homes -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Older people -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Police -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Racism
  • Tenants' associations -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Crown Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • North Carolina