You know that part in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989) where Buggin Out tells the guy in a Larry Bird jersey to move back to Massachusetts? That’s one of those highly charged interactions we’ve all had at some point with our neighbors, to both positive and negative effect. Our neighborly confrontations may not be as heated as Buggin Out’s or directly address big topics like gentrification and race, as his does, but they still stick in our minds for a long time, replaying over and over — and when we share these moments, they say a lot about our neighborhoods and what it’s like to live nowadays… Which is exactly the kind of cultural snapshot BHS is trying to capture and preserve.
I’ve been starting my day lately by reading The New York Times Opinionator blog Disunion, about the Civil War; they do a great job of bringing that time period to life in a dimensional way. I like thinking about historians 100 years from now painting a picture of life in Brooklyn in 2010 and using the audio and video interviews BHS has collected with people (500+ people born as early as 1890 and as recently as 2004) to add authentic voices to their history-telling. Imagine how amazing it would be if we could hear 500 people from Brooklyn in 186o talking about slavery, secession, and the abolitionist movement in their own words, unfiltered by news reports.
Which speaks to why BHS is asking people to call the new STORY HOTLINE: 718.222.4111 x203
Leave us a message with one story about your neighborhood. We’re starting with Fort Greene / Clinton Hill because these messages will be included in the Fort Greene / Clinton Hill audio walking tour (forthcoming January 2011). You can tell us your name, or not, it’s up to you. You can share a story about neighborly confrontations, neighborly love, whatever defines the neighborhood for you. It could even be a song or a sound…
We look forward to hearing from you!