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Flatbush + Main Episode 17: Brooklyn’s West Indian Carnival

By Julie Golia

Posted on August 30, 2017

In Episode 17 of Brooklyn Historical Society’s podcast Flatbush + Main, co-hosts Zaheer Ali and Julie Golia examine the meanings and global roots of a time-honored tradition in Brooklyn, the West Indian Carnival.


02:57 – Histories and Ideas
23:08 – Into the Archives
41:32 – Voices of Brooklyn

For complete show notes, go to

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Segment 1: Histories and Ideas

In segment 1, Zaheer and Julie trace the global history of Carnival, and discuss its meaning and evolution here in Brooklyn.

We hope to see you at Carnival 2017! Learn more from the West Indian American Day Carnival Association website.

Segment 2: Into the Archives

Here are images of the 1981 West Indian Carnival souvenir book that we discuss in segment 2. It was a fantastic document, so we’re giving you lots of photos!

The souvenir book is from the Eastern Parkway Coalition records (2007.016). Explore the finding aid here.

Segment 3: Voices of Brooklyn

Zaheer and Julie listen to excerpts from two oral histories from the West Indian Carnival Project Records, 1994-1995, a project undertaken by Brooklyn Historical Society in the mid-1990s to document the West Indian Carnival, its creators, and its participants. The first narrator we listen to is Jeffrey Adolphus, who was instrumental in getting New York City’s Belizean community officially involved in the Carnival. Then, we hear from Angela Dublin, a member of a steel band and Carnival participant.

You can listen to these interviews and many more on BHS’s Oral History Portal.

Segment 4: Endorsements

Zaheer endorsed “Tales from the Vault: Agricultural Brooklyn.” On Monday, September 11, join our colleagues Tess Colwell and Regina Carra, who explore amazing images of the borough’s agricultural past from the Eugene L. Armbruster collection. Event starts at 6:30pm at BHS’s Brooklyn Heights building.. Get tickets here.

Julie endorsed Heather Ann Thompson’s upcoming talk about her Pulitzer-prize winning book, “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971.” Thompson shares the complicated and gripping tale of the five-day prison uprising, as well as the muddied investigations, lawsuits, and untold stories that followed. Event takes place on September 28 at 6:30pm at BHS’s Brooklyn Heights building. Get tickets here.

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