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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 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

Green, Richard, 2010 June 17

Biographical / Historical

Richard Green was born in Tela, Honduras in 1948 and grew up in various locations in Brooklyn. He graduated from Erasmus Hall High School, served in the Marines, achieved an undergraduate degree at Marist College and attended a graduate program at the State University at New Paltz. Beginning in 1969, he was a permanent fixture of the Crown Heights neighborhood and raised his children there. In 1977, Green founded the Crown Heights Youth Collective and he still served as the Chief Executive Officer in 2016. He also co-founded the Street Outreach Program, has worked with five New York mayors as of 2016, and assisted with Project Cure, a community healing organization formed in the wake of the Crown Heights riot. Since 1993, he has taught as an adjunct professor at Medgar Evers College. He has served on boards, as a trustee or a member, of several high-profile government and public services departments for New York City. Green has been heard on radio as a commentator and producer. He is a husband, father and grandfather.

Scope and Contents

Richard Green speaks briefly about his upbringing in Brooklyn. He speaks at length about the informal beginnings of the Crown Heights Youth Collective and in general about the meaning of youth centers to a community. Park gatherings were an early form of the collective. Green reflects on when he met Cecil Simon, the co-interviewer as well as a narrator of another oral history in this collection. Simon asks for Green's observations on changes in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. Green traces the recent history of the area, including the relationship between the Black and Hasidic communities, the riot in 1991, and the two decades that followed. Simon discusses his high school experience, the importance of literacy and kindness in street culture, and his incarceration. Richard Green speaks about the teens with whom he works, their assumptions and the collective's workspace. He relays the historical benchmarks of many areas in Brooklyn. Green opines on redevelopment and the fallout in communities. He comes back to the Crown Heights Youth Collective, where he instills values and goals in the members. Interview conducted by Cecil Simon and 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 library@brooklynhistory.org.

Subject Names

  • Green, Richard
  • Robinson, Jackie
  • Simon, Cecil

Subject Organizations

  • Crown Heights Youth Collective (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • African American neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • African Americans -- Relations with Jews
  • Barclays Center (New York, N.Y.)
  • Children -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community activists -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Community centers -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Ebbets Field (New York, N.Y.)
  • Education -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Games -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Jewish neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Multiculturalism
  • Race identity
  • Race relations -- United States
  • Riots -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Urban renewal -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

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