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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

Pelham, Lillian, 2010 May 10

Biographical / Historical

Lillian Pelham was born in Brooklyn in 1932. In 1963, her brother, mother and daughter moved to a house on Sterling Place in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Since 1978, she has lived alone and stays active in her neighborhood. In the mid-1970s, she received an associate's degree in nursing at a community college and a bachelor's degree in Community Health and Counseling from St. Francis College. Her occupations have included nurse, entrepreneur and in particular, she served as the Health Resource Coordinator at George Wingate High School and provided group counseling at Samuel J. Tilden High School. After retiring, she wrote a self-help book, "Wisdom in the Air, Wisdom Everywhere." Pelham has three grandchildren.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Lillian Pelham is joined by her friend and neighbor Rosella La Fontaine, who is also a narrator in another oral history interview within this collection. Pelham talks about the experience of living on her block for almost five decades and seeing the demographics of residents change in that time. She shares a few details about her family and other homes on the block. The interview is largely about how she learned to be an author and how a book is published. She relates how she was inspired to write because of her work with at-risk youth in high schools. She concludes by giving advice to motivate and instill life goals for young people. Interview conducted by Alex Kelly.

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 the permission of BHS. For assistance, contact

Subject Names

  • Pelham, Lillian L.

Subject Organizations

  • City University of New York. Medgar Evers College
  • George W. Wingate High School
  • Samuel J. Tilden High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • African American neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Education -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Home ownership -x Social aspects -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Illustration of books
  • Mental health services -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Older people -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Youth -- Conduct of life

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social conditions
  • Crown Heights (New York, N.Y.)