Sarita Daftary-Steel collection of East New York oral histories
41.3 Gigabytes in 147 files, total running time: 32 hours, 22 minutes, 4 seconds
The collection consists of twenty oral history interviews (with nineteen narrators) conducted by Sarita Daftary-Steel with residents (past and present) of the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. The interviews were conducted between January 2014 and February 2015. The project was designed to capture the experiences of East New York residents who lived in the neighborhood during the period when families of color (African American, West Indian, and Puerto Rican) moved in and White families moved out, and the resulting decline of services and quality of life that followed. This process began as early as the 1950s and continued through the rest of the twentieth century. Sarita Daftary-Steel is a community organizer who worked for United Community Centers from 2003 to 2013, most of those years as the East New York Farms! Project Director.
Sarita Daftary-Steel is a community organizer who worked for United Community Centers from 2003 to 2013, most of those years as the East New York Farms! Project Director. As of 2016, she is the Program Director for the El Puente Green Light District and Williamsburg Leadership Center. She attended Georgetown University, where she received a degree in sociology and government, and is also a graduate of the Leadership New York Fellowship, organized by Coro New York and the Leadership Caucus of the Community Resource Exchange.
Source: "Program Directors," El Puente, accessed November 28, 2016, http://elpuente.us/content/program-directors.
The East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn was established as part of the Town of Flatbush in 1835 by John Pitkin. It became the independent Town of New Lots in 1852 and was then annexed by the City of Brooklyn in 1886. By the mid-twentieth century, the neighborhood was predominantly Jewish, with some Italian and Irish residents. Starting in the 1950s, African Americans from the Southern United States, as well as Puerto Ricans, began migrating to the neighborhood in search of employment in New York City. As a result of city government policies and real estate interests influencing residents to sell their homes, the neighborhood experienced a rapid demographic change, and most White residents had left by the 1970s. The area then experienced rapid decline in city services, a rise in crime, and an increase of gang and drug activity. Concerned residents formed a number of community organizations to combat the neighborhood's decline. As of 2016, the neighborhood is once again facing the possibility of major demographic changes as the result of gentrification and a lack of affordable housing.
The collection consists of twenty oral history interviews (with nineteen narrators) conducted by Sarita Daftary-Steel with residents (past and present) of the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. The interviews were conducted between January 2014 and February 2015. The project was designed to capture the experiences of East New York residents who lived in the neighborhood during the period when families of color (African American, West Indian, and Puerto Rican) moved in and White families moved out, and the resulting decline of services and quality of life that followed. This process began as early as the 1950s and continued through the rest of the twentieth century. In particular, the narrators discuss race relations, school integration, housing, community organizing, the rise of crime and drug activity, and neighborhood renewal efforts. Public housing, such as the Linden Houses and Starrett City, is frequently discussed. Local schools, especially Thomas Jefferson High School and George Gershwin Junior High School, are referred to throughout the interviews. Several of the narrators (as well as Daftary-Steel) were involved with United Community Centers, a local community activist and integrationist organization, whose activities are also discussed at length. In addition to the interviews, the collection contains digital photographs of some of the narrators.
Oral histories can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online on the Oral History Portal.
Rights to the interviews is held by Sarita Daftary-Steel. Use of the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of BHS. Please see the Oral History Note for guidelines on using Brooklyn Historical Society's oral history collections. For assistance, please consult library staff at email@example.com.
[Narrator Last Name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer First name Last name], Interview Date [Month day, YYYY], Sarita Daftary-Steel collection of East New York oral histories, [Object ID]; Brooklyn Historical Society.
Gift of Sarita Daftary-Steel, 2015.
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This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 11:16:58 +0000.
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Language: Finding aid written in English
All oral histories processed by John Zarrillo, except for the Carmen Yeancades interview, which was processed by Shakeya Huggins.
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