Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

Brooklyn Historical Society logo

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

Bernadine, Melina, 2010 March 17

Biographical / Historical

Melina Bernadine was born in 1948 on the Caribbean island nation of Grenada. After marrying and having a son together, Melina and her husband immigrated to the United States in the late 1960s. They eventually settled in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and - against her spouse's advice - purchased a home as the 1970s progressed and New York City entered a period of decline. It was at that time that Bernadine took on an activist role in her neighborhood. Her two daughters both work full time helping to improve the lives of young people. At the time of the interview in 2010, Bernadine had resided in Crown Heights for thirty-two years.

Scope and Contents

Melina Bernadine shares her experiences immigrating to the United States in the late 1960s - including her observations of crime and corruption in 1970s New York. She recounts buying a home and raising a family in Crown Heights, Brooklyn during an uncertain period of the city's history. Bernadine also touches on historical phenomena such as political activism in the 1960s and early 1970s, crime in New York City during the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the 1991 riot that seemed to serve as a turning point for both the neighborhood and the city. In 2010, Bernadine was still very much active in neighborhood affairs, attending precinct council meetings and offering advice to a younger generation. Interview conducted by Quanaisha Phillips, 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

  • Bernadine, Melina

Subject Organizations

  • Black Panther Party
  • New York (N.Y.). Police Department

Subject Topics

  • African American neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community activists -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Crime -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Crime -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Ethnic neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Ethnic relations
  • Immigrants -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Police -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Political corruption -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Politicians -- New York (State)
  • Riots -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Urban beautification -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x History |y 20th century
  • Crown Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • New York (N.Y.) |x History
  • United States |x Emigration and immigration