Photo of the Week: Jackie Robinson

[Jackie Robinson in dugout], 1950 ca, v1987.1.3; Photography collection, v1987.1; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Jackie Robinson in dugout], circa 1950, v1987.1.3; Photography collection, v1987.1; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Yesterday would have been Jackie Robinson’s 98th birthday. He became the first African American baseball player to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) when he debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. He played ten years in the MLB and helped lead the Dodgers to their 1955 World Series championship. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. On April 5, 2017, Brooklyn Historical Society will open a new exhibition, “Until Everyone Has It Made: Jackie Robinson’s Legacy,” which celebrates Robinson’s role integrating professional baseball and his lifelong commitment to racial equity.

The photo of the week depicts Jackie Robinson in a dugout (possibly at Ebbets Field) sometime around 1950. Othmer Library has several collections related to the Brooklyn Dodgers, including Brooklyn Dodgers collection, Brooklyn Dodgers Spring Training photographs, and Brooklyn Dodgers photographs. We hope you will visit the Othmer Library to see for yourself, and be sure to check out the Jackie Robinson exhibit when it opens this spring.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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Photo of the Week: Blizzard of 1888

[Horse-drawn sleigh, Flatbush Avenue and Clarkson Avenue], 1888, V1974.7.74; Adrian Vanderveer Martense collection, ARC.191; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Horse-drawn sleigh, Flatbush Avenue and Clarkson Avenue], 1888, V1974.7.74; Adrian Vanderveer Martense collection, ARC.191; Brooklyn Historical Society.

I’ve been missing the magic of a Brooklyn snow fall during this unseasonably warm winter, but looking at this photograph, I’m reminded that I should be careful what I wish for. New Yorkers were reportedly experiencing similarly warmer temperatures and rain leading up to the Blizzard of 1888. No one suspected a four day blizzard in March, with high winds and roughly 40 inches of snow. The storm paralyzed transportation in the city and is considered one of the most severe blizzards in United States history. The photo of the week depicts a horse-drawn sleigh at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Clarkson Avenue following the Blizzard of 1888.

This photograph is from the Adrian Vanderveer Martense collection comprised of lantern slides and photographs taken by Martense during the late 19th century. Martense was a descendent of early Dutch settlers to Brooklyn and the Martense family were longtime residents of the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. Many of his photographs depict Flatbush, as well as other areas of Brooklyn. To view more photographs from this collection, including other images from the Blizzard of 1888, check out this gallery.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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Flatbush + Main Episode 10: Civic Responsibility, Then and Now – Recorded Live!

Flatbush + Main Live

Episode 10 of Flatbush + Main is a special one – it was recorded live on January 11, 2017 in BHS’s beautiful Othmer Library. In a public program called “Civic Responsibility, Then and Now: A View from the Archives,” co-hosts Zaheer Ali and Julie Golia honored the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. by exploring the practice of history as a form of civic engagement, and reflected on the recent election by considering lessons from Brooklyn activists of the past. In her debut appearance on Flatbush + Main, BHS President Deborah Schwartz welcomed the audience, and read a statement prepared by BHS’s Education Department affirming our institutional commitment to a pedagogy that sees history as key to an informed and engaged citizenry. We also heard from New York City Councilmember Brad Lander, who updated us on various efforts at civic engagement taking place in Brooklyn. And finally, audience members added their voice to the record, reflecting on meanings of activism in a new political era.

For complete show notes, go to brooklynhistory.org/flatbush-main. Don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review Flatbush + Main on iTunes at brooklynhistory.org/fm-itunes.

Index

01:51 – Welcome & Statement from BHS President Deborah Schwartz
06:21 – Remarks from NYC Councilmember Brad Lander
12:04 – History & Ideas: History as Civic Engagement
29:23 – Into the Archives: Arnie Goldwag Brooklyn Congress of Racial Equality Papers
55:33 – Voices of Brooklyn: Audience Members Speak

A Message from Brooklyn Historical Society’s President Deborah Schwartz and the Education Department

BHS President Deborah Schwartz read this message prepared by BHS’s Education Department affirming our institutional commitment to a pedagogy that uses history “to educate, galvanize, and challenge us all to be engaged, empathic, informed citizens today.”

A Message from Brooklyn Historical Society's Education Department

Remarks from NYC Councilmember Brad Lander

To find out more about NYC Councilmember Brad Lander, and opportunities for Brooklynites to become more civically involved, visit his website.

Segment 1: Histories and Ideas

In this segment, Julie and Zaheer used the framework of hegemony to understand how historical thinking can contribute to civic engagement and activism. Perhaps the most influential theorist to develop the concept was Antonion Gramsci. He penned the essays that came to be known as the Prison Notebooks while imprisoned in Fascist Italy.

One (awesome) attendee at the January 11 live recording asked for examples of the deployment of hegemony in a history book. Zaheer suggested Roll, Jordan Roll: The World the Slaves Made, by Eugene D. Genovese.

Segment 2: Into the Archives

Regular listeners may recognize the collection we examined: the Arnie Goldwag Brooklyn Congress of Racial Equality Papers (ARC.002). We featured it back on our first episode. You can peruse the finding aid here.

Here are images of the documents we looked at during the episode:

Segment 3: Voices of Brooklyn

This episode, our “Voices of Brooklyn” were those of our January 11 audience. We learned so much from the thoughtful contributions of the attendees. Thanks everyone!

Segment 4: Endorsements

Julie recommended Anne Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi.

Zaheer recommended King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Here’s the full text.

They also recommended “Black Voices, Black Art: Upending Convention with Kellie Jones and Kimberly Drew.” The event is being held at BHS on Tuesday, February 7, at 7pm. Art historian, curator, and 2016 MacArthur Genius Award-winner Kellie Jones will discuss her career, activism, and vision for the future with trailblazing social media maven and blogger Kimberly Drew, a.k.a. @museummammy. Reserve tickets here.

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Photo of the Week: Paerdegaat Basin

Paerdegaat [Basin], ca 1910, v1981.15.144; Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides,v1981.15; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Paerdegaat [Basin], ca 1910, v1981.15.144; Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides,v1981.15; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week depicts Paerdegaat Basin around 1910 in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn. The 1.25 mile long channel connects to Jamaica Bay in the south, and is named for the Dutch word “horse gate.” The surrounding wetland area includes groves of trees and a habitat for many bird and animal species. I love the soft tree reflections in the water and the small tent visible in the background. Did the artist camp here for the night?

This photograph comes from the Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides collection that comprises roughly 400 black-and-white lantern slides, created by Lloyd between 1890 and 1920. Lloyd as a Brooklyn ophthalmologist and amateur photographer, who photographed primarily streets scenes and historic homes in Brooklyn. To view more photographs from this collection, check out the online image gallery here.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral history open to researchers in January, 2017!

Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) and Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration) partnered on the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Oral History project in 2007-2008 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Restoration’s founding as the first community development corporation (CDC) in the United States. Fifty-six interviews were conducted with founding board members, supporters, activists, artists, tenants, and other community members. Audio clips from these oral history interviews were included in the exhibition Reflections on Community Development: Stories from Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (BHS 2008, Restoration 2009). Having completed the processing of this collection in early 2017, Restoration’s 50th anniversary year, BHS is pleased to share these interviews with improved access.

Access to Brooklyn Historical Society’s oral history collections is now made possible through a generous grant by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for Voices of Generations: Investigating Brooklyn’s Cultural Identity, a project to digitize, process, catalog, and make accessible nearly 500 interviews from BHS’s earliest oral history collections that document the histories of Brooklyn’s diverse ethnic and cultural communities. With a goal of improved accessibility via thorough description, Oral History Project Archivist Brett Dion assists and supervises an intern team processing the collections, with project management by Oral Historian Zaheer Ali and Managing Director of the Library and Archives Julie I. May. Today we hand over oral history blogging duty to our dedicated, long-time intern Maria Santiago. Take it away, Maria!

As a whole, the oral history collection records voices, stories, and reflections from across Restoration’s historic organization, and chart its many eras, beginning prior to its founding and up to 2008.

In this three-minute clip, urban planner Ron Shiffman describes the legendary 1966 walking tour through the economically struggling Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn taken by United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY). Other local luminaries joined them; including Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council (CBCC) co-founder Elsie Richardson and U.S. Senator Jacob Javits (R-NY). The walk, arranged by the CBCC, aimed at garnering Kennedy’s support for what would become the nation’s first-ever community development corporation, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. The informed, guided tour revealed the strengths of Bed-Stuy for Kennedy. In listening to this clip, it’s easy to understand why he green-lit the CBCC’s long-pitched plans.

This clip is a small segment of Shiffman’s uncut 2-hour interview, of interest to local historians and community activists — and a tiny fraction of the extensive collection of interviews. Other noted narrators of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Oral History Project include Elsie Richardson, co-founder of the Central Brooklyn Coordinating Committee (CBCC); the educator Dr. Regent Adelaide Sanford; Franklin Thomas, Restoration’s first president and later president of the Ford Foundation; Dr. Josephine English, social activist and one of New York’s first female African American doctors; New York City Assemblyman and Councilman Al Vann; Colvin Grannum, former president of Restoration; Jazz Master Randy Weston; actor Ralph Carter; artist Che Baraka; educator and Associate Commissioner of the New York State Education Department Dr. Lester Young, Jr., and Peggy Alston, director of Restoration’s Youth Arts Academy.

In February, BHS will launch the Oral History Portal, an online access website that combines the detailed interview descriptions and the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer player to seamlessly intertwine a descriptive index with the listening experience.  The portal was funded by the New York Community Trust.  For an overview of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral history and descriptions of narrators and interview content, please see our guide, available online via our finding aid portal in later January. You can also visit the Othmer Library to listen to oral history interviews during research hours Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org. I encourage you to visit!

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