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Flatbush + Main Episode 22: Black Businesses in Brooklyn

By Julie Golia

Posted on February 14, 2018

In Episode 22 of Brooklyn Historical Society’s podcast Flatbush + Main, co-hosts Zaheer Ali and Julie Golia examine the legacy of black-owned businesses in Brooklyn.


03:13 – Histories and Ideas
22:32 – Into the Archives
38:48 – Voices of Brooklyn

For complete show notes, go to

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Segment 1: Histories and Ideas

In segment 1, Zaheer and Julie sit down with Prithi Kanakamedala to talk about the legacy of one Brooklyn businesswoman, Elizabeth Gloucester, and the ties between politics, activism, and entrepreneurship. Prithi is an Assistant Professor in History at Bronx Community College CUNY. Prior to that she worked at BHS, where she was curator and lead historian on In Pursuit of Freedom, a public partnership of BHS, Weeksville Heritage Center and Irondale Ensemble Project that explored the untold stories of anti-slavery activism in Brooklyn.

Prithi also left us with some great suggestions for further reading. Check out the recently-published work of historians Mary Phillips, Robyn C. Spencer, Keisha N. Blain, and LaShawn Harris.

Segment 2: Into the Archives

Julie and Zaheer get excited while analyzing the most interesting business document they’ve encountered – the Brooklyn Brush Manufacturing Company Articles of Incorporation. You can examine the document in person in our archives – here’s the finding aid. In the meantime, here are images of the document.

Segment 3: Voices of Brooklyn

Zaheer and Julie listen to an excerpt from the oral history of Mark Winston Griffith, currently the Executive Director of Brooklyn Movement Center. In 1991, Griffith co-founded with Errol Louis the Central Brooklyn Federal Credit Union, which would become the largest community-based financial cooperative in the country.

You can listen to the full interview on BHS’s Oral History Portal here.

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