Skip to Content

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

By Julie Golia

Posted on January 24, 2017


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 Don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review Flatbush + Main on iTunes at


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.”


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.

Explore more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked