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Flatbush + Main Episode 34: Land and Labor in Agricultural Brooklyn

By Julie Golia

Posted on May 28, 2019

In Episode 34 of Brooklyn Historical Society’s podcast Flatbush + Main, co-hosts Zaheer Ali and Julie Golia discuss Brooklyn’s long farming history, and the complex interplay of power, land, and labor in Kings County.

Index

02:16 Histories and Ideas
17:51 Into the Archives
32:57 Voices of Brooklyn

For complete show notes, go to brooklynhistory.org/flatbush-main.

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Segment 1: Histories and Ideas

In this segment, Zaheer and Julie discuss a surprising topic: how farms persisted in Kings County well into the 20th century. The look at the essential role that slavery played in Brooklyn’s farming economy before emancipation in 1827. And they consider the impact of new transportation technologies on land use in Kings County.

To learn more about Brooklyn’s agricultural origins, check out our digital exhibition An American Family Grows in Brooklyn: Tee Lefferts Family Papers.

For an in-depth look Brooklyn’s market farms in the early 20th century, check out the book Of Cabbages and Kings County: Agriculture and the Formation of Modern Brooklyn.

Segment 2: Into the Archives

To bring agricultural Brooklyn to life, Julie and Zaheer look at photographs and documents from the Lefferts family papers at Brooklyn Historical Society.

Photo of a Dutch farm house, circa 1890

Photo of a Brooklyn farm, circa 1880

Photo of James Lefferts, circa 1900s

On the Vanderveer Farm, circa 1920

The village of Flatbush as it was in the year 1870, 1943

You can explore these documents and more in the image gallery associated with BHS’s digital exhibition, An American Family Grows in Brooklyn.

Segment 3: Voices of Brooklyn

In this segment, Zaheer and Julie listen to clips from the oral histories of Gregg Todd and Sophie Johnson, both from the Voices of Crown Heights oral histories collection.

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