feeling at home in Crown Heights

A while back I had the opportunity to meet with the lovely young women who are part of the Crown Heights Oral History Project.  Yesterday three teens were shot in Crown Heights, so it’s heartening to see these teens honoring the community’s elders under the guidance of coordinator, Alex Kelly:

About Our Project

WHAT? We will record over 60 conversations between us and people who have lived in Crown Heights, Brooklyn for over 15 years. We plan to donate these interviews to Brooklyn Historical Society and present them to the community for a listening event in Spring 2010 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Crow Hill Community Association.

WHY? By recording Crown Heights residents as they tell their stories, we will preserve the history of our neighborhood through the voices of the people who have lived it.

WHO? We are four students from Paul Robeson High School working to learn more about the history of our changing community.

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but Crown Heights was the first neighborhood I visited when I came to NYC…I was probably 6 or 7 years old, and my dad brought us down on the bus, I think, because one of his elderly cousins had died.  We stayed with my grandfather’s cousin, Lil, and she lived in a brownstone right by Eastern Parkway.  I have a lot of memories of that trip, and they all came rushing back when the oral history project teens asked me to relate my personal connection to Crown Heights.  When I returned to NYC as a young adult, I moved into Cousin Lil’s basement…when I took a year off from graduate school, I moved into Cousin Lil’s top floor apartment (where my dad was living following his second divorce).  When I left my job in Ohio, I moved into my dad’s house—in Crown Heights!  Over and over again I come back to this community, so it’s no surprise that my first novel for teens was set here…in a couple of months, the oral history project teens will share their recorded interviews with long-time residents, so stayed tuned for news of that event—I’ll definitely be there!  For now, you can visit their blog and leave a comment so that Monica, Treverlyn, and Ansie know someone out there is listening…


~ by elliottzetta on April 8, 2010.

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